Blackberry Cake


A short while back I made a blackberry cake from a recipe found at Confections of a Foodie Bride (is that a great name or what?), who adapted it from a recipe found in the recently deceased Gourmet magazine, although the original recipe can only be found at Epicurious (still with me?).

The original recipe lined the baking pan with parchment, then floured it as well; the adaptation for some reason omitted both steps.  I made the mistake of not looking at the original version; you will soon see why these are very important steps that have been re-added below in bold so you shouldn't miss it.  I don't know how FoodBride managed to get the cake out of the pan and have it look so pretty without the parchment.  Unless she greased the sucker with an entire can of Crisco. :P

If you are like me and stock buttermilk powder because the real thing would spoil before it was used up (does spoiled buttermilk turn sweet?), don't waste all that energy reconstituting it beforehand.  It's much easier to add the powder along with the dry ingredients, then just add water where the buttermilk is called for.

Blackberry-Lemon Buttermilk Cake
 adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride
makes 1 8-inch cake, about 8-10 servings 

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus another tablespoon for flouring the pan
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus another tablespoon for greasing
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 tsp. Amaretto di Saronno (or 1/4 tsp. almond extract)
1 large egg
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup buttermilk, or 1/2 cup water plus 1/4 cup of buttermilk powder (do not mix together)
1 cup fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan.  Line bottom of pan with a circle of parchment paper, then butter parchment. Lightly dust bottom and sides with flour, then set aside.

 In a 1 quart-sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, buttermilk powder (if using) and salt; set aside.

Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add Amaretto (or almond extract), lemon juice, lemon zest and egg, and beat well.

It will first look a little curdled, but don't panic ...

... because after a minute or so it will smooth out and look nice and fluffy.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk (or water, if using), starting and ending with the dry mixture.

Mix at low speed just until just combined (over-mixing produces gluten, which causes the cake to be tough instead of tender).

Pour batter into cake pan, spreading evenly and smoothing top.

Scatter berries evenly over the top.

Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, then gently push the berries slightly down into the batter.

Bake until cake is golden brown, the sides pull away from the pan edge, and a toothpick (or my old cake tester which has saved a tree or two over the last 30+ years) inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.   Notice that the blackberries sunk below the top.  This is a good thing because now the blackberries will peek out when the cake is inverted.

Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack and cool for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Um ... this is what happens when you don't use the parchment paper (but then you get to scrape off the dregs in the pan and eat them yourself lay them back on top of the cake to cover the holes).   If you plan to serve the cake to company, flip it back so the nice side is up and pretend that's how it's supposed to be served.

If you used the parchment, carefully peel the parchment off the cake and discard it (the parchment, not the cake).  Slide the cake onto a serving plate and cut into 8-10 slices.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Store covered at room temperature for up to three days.


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