On the first day of spring, I was driving west through the mountains on the way back from the Appalachian Studies Association Conference in charming Shepherdstown. In the higher elevations, there was a light, blustery snow which turned to a cold rain as I neared home. I was exhausted and my head was spinning from the whirlwind of ideas and work shared at the conference. I kept coming back, in particular, to the presentation from my friend and filmmaker Tijah Bumgarner about the multiple emerging alternative narratives in Appalachia in the aftermath of the master narrative of coal. Her work on the diverse narratives and changes in the cultural landscape brought on by artists, writers, and filmmakers working in the region prompted me to consider how we are essentially also (re)creating or reimagining another distinct narrative through the work of the West Virginia Folklife Program. This is inevitably being created in the context of our oral histories, documentation, and programming that makes space for and gives voice to the everyday creative and cultural expression of West Virginians.
Certainly, I've been circling around that idea since I started here in November, and in a broad sense since I started studying and working in folklore, but framing it in the context of a narrative, or even as a distinct "text," helped me to conceive of the potential meaning-making and interpretation of this work. It's a helpful lens for me, former English major and teacher that I am, and brings more intention to my everyday tasks.
So while the first day of spring had us in a brief relapse in terms of weather and found me in a state of fatigue from a long week, it also brought a new perspective, not only from the conference, but in the active focus of my work. I've moved from a place of forging relationships and infrastructure, to being able to build on those contacts so that I can now step out into local communities with at least some known points of reference.
I had the day off on Monday, which provided the space to crystalize all I took in and settle back into my daily life in Charleston. Baking, as I've said before, is that process that grounds me in place. After so much socializing over the weekend, I didn't want to go out, so set on making something from what I had on hand at home. That turned out to be limes leftover from the Atlantic Beach Pie I'd made for Pi(e) Day, and other basic ingredients, coming together in this Lime Bundt Cake. I used some 1/3 coconut flour I'd received from Arrowhead Mills, and because I didn't have buttermilk, substituted in coconut milk leftover from another Pi(e) Day creation. I don't see why you couldn't use all coconut flour in this recipe if you wanted to go gluten-free. The cake was both moist and dense, tasted surprisingly of Fruit Loops, and offered that hint of green for the turn of seasons.
Lime Bundt CakeAdapted from Life in the Lofthouse
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons lime zest
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/2 Tablespoon full-fat coconut milk
Lime zest and shredded coconut (optional)
1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour bundt pant and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, and lime zest on medium speed until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add lime juice until incorporated.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flours, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add this dry mixture to wet mixture, alternating with the coconut milk.
3. Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan and spread evenly. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
4. Remove cake from oven. Let cake rest 10 minutes in pan, then invert to a cooling rack. Let cake cool completely while you prepare the glaze.
5. For the glaze: Whisk together powdered sugar, lime juice, and coconut milk until smooth and no lumps remain. When cake is completely cool, drizzle glaze on top. Garnish with lime zest and shredded coconut, if desired. Slice cake and serve.
Atlantic Beach Pie
Key Lime Pie Popsicles
Lime and Raspberry Italian Meringue Pie
Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake