Sunday, August 31, 2014

Summer Blackberry Lemon Buttermilk Cake

The current weather has made this a confusing time of year to be in London.  Many of the days (even the sunny ones) seem to have dark grey storm clouds always looming nearby and surprise wind and/or rain storms might appear at any moment.  And most of us have basically accepted that summer is sadly over, even though its still August... However, there is still one small part of summer holding on, and that is the ripe beautiful blackberries around every corner.  The last few weeks I have found myself stopping multiple times mid run, as I've stumbled upon yet another patch of missed, forgotten, delicious, plump, black berries.

If you find yourself with a spare cup of berries, this summery cake is a brilliant use of them.  I've adapted the recipe by kicking up the lemon flavor with a sugary glaze on top, making a delicious tart, yet sweet, light cake, that leaves you wanting "just one more slice."  This cake is fast to whip up, and a great addition to summer pot lucks or barbeques.  I usually use blackberries in this recipe, but it does great with any type of berry you have lying around the house, and the original recipe calls for raspberry.

Note: I use "homemade" buttermilk in this recipe, by combining vinegar and milk, but if you happen to have fresh buttermilk in the house, feel free to replace the milk with that and leave out the vinegar.  

Blackberry Lemon Buttermilk Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes one 9-inch thinnish cake.

1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 stick (56 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon (used for both juice and zest)
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup fresh blackberries

Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 200c/400f and butter and flour a 9' round spring form pan.
  1. Pour the milk and vinegar into a small bowl or measuring cup, and leave to sit for about 5 minutes or until it looks curdled.
  2. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in vanilla and the zest of 1/2 a lemon. Mix in the egg.
  3. In alternating batches, mix in 1/3 of the flour, followed by 1/2 the buttermilk, until both are gone ending with the flour, mixing after each addition.  The batter may look curdled during the middle stages, but will come together at the end.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, smoothing the top, then sprinkle the berries all over the cake.
  5. Bake for 18-23 minutes, until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Rotate the cake half through baking, if your oven does not bake evenly.
  6. While the cake is baking, in a small bowl mix the juice of one lemon with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.
  7. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the sugar/lemon paste all over the cake, spreading it so it covers most of the surface.  Cool on a wire rack

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