Tag Archives: top with cinnamon

Tiny Blackberry Cakes

25 Feb

I can’t believe it, but I haven’t really had anything to do this weekend.  No readings that couldn’t wait, no pressing revisions, no new writing.  A few study abroad things to take care of, but nothing that would occupy sizable part of a day.

It was weird.  A little scary.  I survived.  Mainly through running around the city–Friday the art history club went to Northwestern to see their museum.  There was much admiration of brutalism.  You know you’re with the right crowd when everyone’s talking about an offensively hideous and awesome architectural movement with great fondness.



They have their own art history library by the way.  It’s amazing, and we were all wicked jealous.



Saturday I went grocery shopping and finished a fantastic book in some nameless café (I guess it has a name… I just don’t know it) and then to the University of Chicago


for a performance hosted by their radio station.  It was weird.


and today I had loafed around and read about Chinese art and Japanese gender politics.  It’s been weird.  Maybe there will be more to do this week…

Okay, well about these cakes.  I found the recipe on one of my new favorite baking blogs, Top With Cinnamon.  The dame who runs this blog has gorgeous photography (and gifs!) and supremely excellent and creative recipes.  As in, pancakes with only two ingredients, homemade mint thins, and all sorts of improvised goodness.  AND she just turned 17, having the started the blog at 15.  Incredible.

So her recipe is for individual blueberry cakes, but I like blackberries better, and also they were cheaper (somehow?), thus:




  • 2 cups blackberries (or other berries)
  • 1/3 cup + 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder


Stir the blackberries together with 1/2 cup water and the 1/3 cup sugar until the berries are coated.  Divided amongst a few ramekins.  I used four 8 oz ones.


In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp sugar and the whipping cream.  Add the flour and mix until just combined.  Don’t overmix it, or it will be weird and gross.  Those are the professional baker’s terms for what will happen to your cakes.

Divide this evenly amongst the ramekins as well.



Sprinkle with cinnamon and the remaining sugar, and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.  The berries will ooze all over the damn place, but it’s cool, do not panic.




So yes.  I’m very happy I got to use my ramekins for something other than eating yoghurt.  I was so excited to get them and then I didn’t do anything with them…

These are best served warm, and can be microwaved a little if need be.





I have, as I mentioned, been reading many books lately, but the one I just finished stands out the most.  I heard about Tokyo Vice, by Jake Adelstein through a New Yorker podcast featuring one of my favorite writers, Peter Hessler, who was talking about Adelstein’s career as the first foreign reporter for a major Japanese paper.

Adelstein travelled to Japan to study abroad and ended up transferring to the university in Tokyo before graduating and, by some miracle, getting hired by one of the biggest Japanese papers to cover the crime beat.  His book is really incredible, and exposes many sides of Japanese society that we often overlook.  It’s also a brutal book, going into serious detail about the yakuza, homicide in Japan, and the bizarre and horrifying sex industry.  The author go into the underbelly of Japan so deeply that he had a major yakuza threatening Adelstein’s life and the lives of everyone remotely close to him.  That’s when you know you’ve hit on something big, and thankfully he lived to tell the story.

It’s worth reading for Adelstein’s personal story, which is very interesting, for what it tells us about Japanese society, and to learn more about the sex industry and sex crimes in general, which can never be talked about too often or in too much detail.