A Tale of Blueberry Sleeve Cake

A Tale of Blueberry Sleeve Cake

See that iced coffee sweating in the carafe? Yep… that’s late August in Florida

With this many years in cooking and catering—and please don’t ask how many—I often get this type of question: “Jorj, what would YOU bring to an event like ______ (fill in the blank).” I have to say that most people who approach me for advice in the “provisions” department have unique circumstances; for example, it is an outdoor event and they are worried how the food will hold up, or they are going to a party full of people with special dietary needs.

In the most recent case, it was a volunteer event on a blisteringly hot day in Florida. Everyone was going to be gardening!  While I would happily have steered my friend toward pastry from one of my books like Sunday Best Dishes, her gardening party was on a Sunday after all, I have shared her zip code in Florida and the heat this time of year there is UNREAL. When you work outside there are bugs to contend with and a perspiration problem that even a hundred and ten tons of Gatorade cannot cure, not to mention close to 100% humidity—these are definitely conditions where an extremely detailed, painstaking cake recipe just would not be appreciated….soooooo, I passed down a very basic blueberry cake recipe and recommended she cut slabs of cake placing them in their own portable sleeves: like clean coffee filters! I am told the volunteers at the Coral Springs Community Garden liked the cake, and it seemed to make them smile more than the Dunkin Donuts that the ants were also fighting over that day!

his recipe produces one loaf per ½ pint of blueberries—while blueberries are best April through September in places like Maine, we can enjoy them year round, thanks to imports from Chile and Argentina. I checked the facts at the Blueberry Council!

Enjoy and take this to your next outdoor party!

Blueberry Sleeve Cake

Serving size: 1 loaf / serves 6
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chilled butter
  • ¾ cup half and half
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup blueberries

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter. You can use your electric mixer if you wish but mixing by hand works, too.

In a separate bowl, mix half and half and the egg; fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Add the blueberries and stir well, using a large spoon or spatula.

Coat a loaf pan with vegetable oil spray and pour in the batter. Bake for 30 minutes until the top of cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into its center comes out clean.

The Nana Network Gives Back: We Loved Helping Vance High’s New Golf Team!

The Nana Network Gives Back: We Loved Helping Vance High’s New Golf Team!

Most of us contribute to charities, school fundraisers, community projects and our churches on a regular basis. “Giving back” is part of our culture; but, every once in a while, an opportunity for “hands on help” presents itself.

Me, Jorj (second from the right) with Coach Smith and trio of new Vance High School Golfers!

Last week, while infusing my early morning coffee, I watched a story on Vance High School’s coach trying to start up a girls’ golf team—the first all-girl golf team this Charlotte, North Carolina school has ever known! The girls (five of them) were present and willing, but the budget was sorely lacking. The coach made an appeal for used golf equipment, “clubs, bags, balls tees, shoes… anything.”

Ding, ding, ding! If there is one thing a mountain top golf community has it is extra clubs – but how to get the word out? It takes a village they say. Well, I say it takes a Network, a “Nana Network” to be exact. I knew I could find dozens of fellow grandparents on my Ladies Golf Association email list that would be happy to help these young ladies. The LGA list is normally used to communicate upcoming tournaments and results, but within a few minutes, the call went out for donations, and—just as I knew it would—help came pouring in!

Within 24 hours I had a garage full of equipment for the girls. Within 48 hours we had met their needs and more. Within 72 hours the cash started rolling in, and by day four I was packing up my car and driving to meet the coach.

Bound for Vance High School!

Bound for Vance High School!

It is heartwarming to know how much everyone wanted to help. It is about golf, a sport that teaches patience and etiquette, as well as team camaraderie.  But, it is also about helping a girl have a chance to learn a sport that may open a door for her later on in life.  One of the team members that I met told me that she had never swung a golf club, but she has watched a lot of golf on TV.

Now she has a chance to experience in life what she could only watch others perform.

If you are moved like I was to pay it forward and help get this cool new golf team off the ground, it is not too late!! The high school is selling T-shirts now through September 1, 2014. For $20 you can get a T that says “Vance Golf” on the front and features a list of generous sponsors (like you!) on the back. Make your check payable to “Vance Athletic Booster Club (Golf)” and address the envelope as follows:

c/o Jerry Smith / Golf Coach
Vance High School
7600 IBM Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262

As for me and my loyal band of gal pals, who like golfing almost as much as we like gnoshing, we will continue to follow the Vance High School Girls’ Golf Team and maybe, just maybe by the end of the season, they can visit our Nana Network, and give us a golf tip or two!