Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blackberry or Blueberry or Raspberry or Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

         Today, I wanted to share a really terrific cake that Andrew made last weekend…twice.  The tangy buttermilk makes the cake so deliciously moist and adaptable to any one of those gorgeous berries that are at our Farm Stands right now.  It lets the flavor of the fruit come through because it’s topped with a dusting of powdered sugar  which takes nothing away from the berries but gives you a sweet and decorative finish.  As delicious as it is, that’s not really the reason Andrew made it twice.  Read on…

Berries at Country Garden, Scuttlehole Road, Bridgehampton NY

         Andrew is justifiably  famous for his desserts.  It’s almost inevitable that he volunteers to provide whomever our dinner host or hostess is with one of his incredibly wonderful sweets.  Last weekend was no exception.  In fact, it was a tour de force.  Our friends Kathy and Ian were house guesting with us  and Andrew ended up making all of five sweets.   Well six, if you count this recipe twice.  Here’s what happened. 

         The first beautiful berry cake perfumed the house with the most wonderful scent.  Emerging from the oven, it cooled while warming the house with berry air.   Since this is almost an upside down cake,  Andrew then took our cake stand and inverted the baking tin.  Unfortunately, disaster struck and the cake stand broke into a lot of shards of glass as it hit the marble countertop.   The cake was obviously inedible except that Andrew scooped off some of the fruit and dug carefully to sample the cake itself.  It was so good that he immediately took off back to the farm stand for more blackberries for a second and highly successful attempt.   That convinced me that this is a recipe to share with you.  It takes a while in the oven, but apparently it’s easy enough that if pressed, you can make two of them in an afternoon.  The recipe, by the way, is from July’s Bon Appetit. 
Here it is:

Recipe for Blackberry Buttermilk Cake adapted from Bon Appetit

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan and parchment
2 1/3 cups cake flour (sifted, then measured) plus more for pan
2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries
1/4 cup plus 1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
       1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
       1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
       Powdered sugar (for dusting)

         Special equipment: Use a 9"–10"-diameter springform pan.

Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Butter pan; line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter parchment. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Arrange berries in a single layer in bottom of pan; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup sugar.

Sift 2 1/3 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup butter and remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar in a large bowl at medium-high speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and zest. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until incorporated. Pour batter over berries in pan; smooth top.

Bake until cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Let cool in pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then run a thin, sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen. Remove pan sides. Invert cake onto rack and remove pan bottom; peel off parchment. Dust top generously with powdered sugar and let cool completely.


  1. Sounds fabulous. This one I have got to make.

  2. So moist and delicious and basically quite easy. And I wonder what a mix of berries would be like.