What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “fair trade?” Coffee or chocolate, if you’re like the typical consumer. Chocolate coffee, if you think like I do. Heh, heh, heh.
The concept of fair trade is essentially the quest to provide fair prices to producers in developing countries, with a triple goal of reducing poverty, increasing ethical treatment of workers, and promoting environmentally sustainable practices.
To power up your fair trade resolve as we head into the new year, I’d like to offer the following cake recipe. Originally published in the October 25th, 2012 issue of the Lawrence Journal-World, Blueberry Energy Cake is quick, yummy enough to please palates of all ages, and can be made almost entirely with Fair Trade and locally-sourced ingredients.
Crank up your oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8-inch square pan.
Whenever I make this cake, I use my two-cup glass measuring cup and a medium bowl. It’s not quite an all-in-one process, but it definitely cuts down on the dishes. However you go about it, measure two cups of whole wheat flour into your bowl. Add three quarters of a cup of sugar, and a generous tablespoon of baking powder.
A confession: I rarely mess with measuring spoons in a lot of recipes. With a little practice, you can get pretty good at “eyeballing”, and a simple coffee cake won’t suffer from a tiny variance in ingredients. Use a fork to measure out your tablespoon, if you’re so inclined.
Stir the dry ingredients together, and then cut in four tablespoons of butter. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it’s close to the consistency of cornmeal. Yes, with your hands. It’s a lot easier than using two knives or a pastry blender. Just squeeze and stir the butter around in the flour until the lumps are gone.
Zap half a cup of milk along with a quarter-cup of honey in the microwave; one minute is plenty. This is where the glass measuring cup comes in handy. Whisk in one large egg, and then stir this mixture into your flour mix until just combined. Add three ounces of frozen blueberries and stir to distribute.
Spread the batter in your prepared pan and sprinkle the top with a little sugar. Bake it for half an hour and enjoy the smells that fill your kitchen. Unlike most baked desserts, you can eat this one almost straight out of the oven. Serve it as is, or with fresh whipped cream. Don’t forget to include a good book and your favorite hot beverage.
If you’re having trouble finding Fair Trade suppliers, here are some good places to start:
Enjoy the cake, and be sure to tell us about your favorite Fair Trade recipes and suppliers in the comment section.