White Lily My Way: Amber Wilson, author and blogger, For the Love of the South

Growing up in Louisiana, Amber Wilson learned to cook alongside generations of great Southern women. Among the enduring lessons they taught her: to use all her senses when searching out a ripe melon, to keep her cast iron skillet well-seasoned, and-of course-to always reach for White Lily flour when baking up tender cakes and biscuits. Now, as a new mother herself, she looks forward to passing along that kitchen wisdom and more. Here, she shares a recipe for a simple, quintessentially Southern snacking cake that can be adapted to any season or occasion, from lazy breakfast to festive Easter brunch.

"When I'm creating a recipe that calls for self-rising flour, it's always White Lily. My relationship with it was developed over batches and batches of homemade biscuits, pancakes, and waffles on Saturday mornings. I'll always remember waking up in my grandmother's house in Lake Charles, to the scent of chicory coffee and bread in the air—and the sound of the bag ruffling as my grandmother diligently scooped flour into a bowl, making our breakfast.

There are a few Southern brands that are a staple in my pantry—things that I grew up with and that I value for their consistent quality—and White Lily is one of them.  It makes the fluffiest pancakes and perfect cakes. That's why, when I was making this berry cake for my cookbook, I knew I had to use it. It gives the cake a wonderful texture and has this magical way of staying light enough that the berries stay suspended in the batter instead of sinking to the bottom.

I love using sweet, inky blackberries in this cake, but it is so versatile there are endless ways you could make it your own or adapt it to the changing seasons. Substituting blueberries and adding lemon zest is delightful for springtime and swapping in fresh cranberries and orange zest is perfect for the winter or holiday time.

This is such a quick and dependable treat—and now that I'm becoming a mom, I can imagine it donning many breakfast tables and future birthday parties and holiday celebrations. I love the idea of passing on the sense-memory of the feel and sound of pulling out a bag of White Lily flour—and making wonderful new kitchen traditions."

Southern Snack Cake
Adapted from Amber Wilson, For the Love of the South

Yield:
12 Servings

Ingredients:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the pan
¾ cup superfine sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups White Lily Self-Rising Flour, sifted
1 cup fresh or frozen berries (such as cranberries in fall/winter or blueberries or blackberries in spring/summer)
Zest of 1 orange or lemon (optional)
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-cup Bundt pan and set aside.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream the butter and sugar together for 5 minutes on medium. Scrape down the bowl and continue whisking for another 5 minutes.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly add the milk and vanilla and whisk for a few minutes more. Don't worry if the batter looks curdled—it will come together.
4. Add the salt and then the flour, one tablespoon at a time.
5. Once all the flour has been incorporated, fold in half of the berries and the citrus zest, if using.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining berries over the top, gently pressing them into the batter.
7. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
8. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Baking Tip

In order to maintain a consistent temperature, do not open the oven door during baking. Instead, use the oven light to check on your baking progress.

Baking Tip

If batter does not fill every cup of the muffin pan, put a few tablespoons of water in the empty cup to keep muffins moist and to protect the pan from warping.