let’s eat cake! who’s with me?
a cake that is quite versatile in the flavor department and can be quickly brought together in a moments notice with ingredients that are, without a doubt, already in your fridge and pantries and cupboards. totally rad, right?!? yes, i am asking you to turn your ovens smack dab in the middle of summer, but sometimes you just need to bake it out and eat cake… no matter the temperature.
i often get asked, how can you just bake a cake without a trip to the grocery? or how do you decide what to bake on any random tuesday evening? i take a few minutes and stare into my fridge – it always starts with a good few minutes gaping into the depths of my very very messy fridge. often times, it involves looking up from beneath the clear shelves to get a complete view of what i have nestled behind the milk and mayo. i am real good at identifying the half and half container this way, as well as the mustard. I need to take inventory of what fruit i need to eat before it turns into a science experiment. there is a look into my baking cupboard and wonder how i can use leftover chocolate chips or half eaten bars of chocolate. flour, sugars, butter, baking powder/soda, basic spices, dairy products, vanilla extract … those are my staples. each trip to the grocery store, i stock up on those items as necessary. i buy a lot more butter than baking powder, but you get the gist. this way, i can whip up anything from a cake to a brownie to a cookie or a pie depending on the extra ingredients i have hanging around the kitchen.
this is especially helpful in the summer as each week brings a different fruit to its peak ripeness and we are searching for ideas and ways to utilize large amounts of berries and peaches and plums and the list goes on … i have a tendency to go a bit overboard at farmer’s markets and the like.
this week that extra ingredient – blackberries. on sale and my eyes were much larger than my stomach and i just couldn’t resist. sadly, they were not as sweet as i had hoped and while i wasn’t particularly excited to eat them by the handful, i figured they would be perfect for a cake where sugar would be sprinkled directly upon them. and i had a random lemon hanging out at the bottom of my fridge…so the zest ended up in the cake and the juice- part of an evening lemon shake-up, county fair style. where the sugar doesn’t truly dissolve and as you sip the refreshing drink, the sugar crunches between your teeth. its just the best.
i made this cake a few weeks ago with strawberries. i believe it would be wonderful with raspberries. or maybe plums or apricots or peaches. pick your fruit and it is up to you if you’d like to add zest to the batter or perhaps with the peaches, swapping out the vanilla extract for almond. it all depends on what you have hanging out in your kitchen and what flavors you are craving at the time.
it’s tuesday, let’s eat cake!
we will begin, like most good baked goods – by gently combining flour, salt, and baking powder with a fork and setting it aside for later use.
sugar and butter gets creamed until light and fluffy – it always seems to take about 3 minutes with a stand mixer.
add the lemon zest here, too! it was spur of the moment and the camera was alllll the way on the other side of the counter.
egg and vanilla are whisked together with that trusty old fork. you’ll whisk in the milk too – you will need to use your im
butter and sugar…light and fluffy and lemony- check!
egg and vanilla…a touch bubbly – check!
milk at the ready … check!
light and fluffy + wet ingredients + a bit of time with a mixer + dry ingredients + a bit more time with mixer + a few scrapes with a spatula + a finger swipe to test the lemony-ness + a prepared springform pan =
a very smooth and silky batter. smooth with spatula – it’ll seem like this isn’t nearly enough. it is. trust me.
no springform pan? it’s cool. use a 10 inch pie plate or a 9 inch DEEP dish pie plate. butter it well.
bring in the blackberries. i used about 2 or was it 3 cups of them…or maybe 1 pint. give or take a few…depending on your snacking tendencies and how close you can fit them in the pan.
squeeze ’em in. leave no or very little room between berries.
it’s for the best. trust me. the more berries, the more jammy puddles there will be…
you will sprinkle this with sugar.
and bake until lightly browned and the blackberries are nearly swallowed by buttery lemony cake.
totally worthy of breakfast.
sweet sweet sweet blackberries.
reason enough to turn your oven on mid-July. if not, stop on by…i plan on making this a few more times this summer. i’ll save you a piece!
- 1 +1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1+1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 1 Cup Sugar + 2 Tablespoonfuls Sugar
- Zest of 1 Lemon, grated
- 1 Large Egg
- 1/2 Cup Milk (I have used whole, half and half, and 2% – all work well)
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 + 1/2 Pints Fresh Blackberries (about 2-3 Cups)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line the base of a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides of the pan. Set aside. You can also use a 9 inch deep dish pie plate or a regular 10 inch pie plate.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, baking power, and salt. Stir and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy – about 3 minutes. Beat in grated zest of 1 lemon.
- Whisk together egg, vanilla, and milk. Add to butter and sugar and mix until well combined, remembering to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula half way through mixing.
- With mixer on low, gently add dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder) and mix until batter is smooth and all ingredients are evenly incorporated. Again scrape down sides and bottom half way through mixing to ensure incorporation of all all flour.
- Pour batter into prepared springform pan. Place blackberries on top of cake batter, fitting them as closely as possible to each other in a single layer. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoonfuls of granulated sugar over the top of the cake.
- Place in preheated oven and bake at 350F for 10 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 325F and bake until golden and toothpick comes out clean (minus blackberry juice) – about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
- Once cool, run a knife along the edge of the springform pan to release edges of cake from the sides and remove springform pan from its base.
- Serve with whipped cream and extra berries or a sprinkle of powdered sugar.