I can’t resist buying blackberries when they’re sitting in the produce department, plump and shiny. I know they have tons of seeds and that’s a little annoying, but they are worth it. I picked up two little tubs of blackberries the other day and had just the recipe in mind. A cake that was made with buttermilk and looked like a good breakfast treat.
Buttermilk always makes baked things so nice and moist. My banana bread recipe calls for buttermilk. I knew this cake would be good. But ooops, I didn’t have cake flour. I rarely have a need for it, so I don’t stock it in my baking cupboard. I refused to give up, I wanted that cake!
A quick search with Google and I found Joy the Baker explains how to substitute regular flour and cornstarch for cake flour. I won’t repeat her process, but if you need to substitute all-purpose flour, take the link. It’s very easy. And I have to say I didn’t sift it, I stirred and stirred and stirred until I thought it was equally distributed. My cake turned out great, so that worked for me.
I prepared the pan as directed, using a 10″ springform pan. I cut a piece of parchment for the bottom and buttered it. Then I buttered around the sides. Last, I sprinkled flour over it all.
I rinsed the blackberries then placed them in a single layer in the prepared pan. Then I sprinkled the sugar over them.
Next I used my stand mixer since there is a lot of beating involved with this recipe. First you beat the room temp butter and sugar until it’s fluffy. That took a few minutes, plus scraping the sides often. Then you add one egg at a time, beating and scraping often again. Next beat in the vanilla and the zest.
I didn’t have an orange so I used grapefruit zest. That was a really excellent substitution. I think I liked that better than I would have liked the flavor of orange zest. Lime or lemon would also be good. So I’d say it’s fine to improvise with whichever citrus fruit you have on hand.
Once you have the flour measured and have added the baking powder, soda and salt and sifted or stirred it thoroughly, measure out the buttermilk. Add them to the bowl, alternating the flour with the milk in 3 installments. When all is added, beat just until it looks all mixed. Then pour it over the blackberries in the prepared pan. Smooth and put in the oven.
I was hesitant about how long to cook the cake, the directions said an hour for my 10″ springform pan and after 55 minutes it was quite dark brown. The directions said “golden brown” and I thought it was darker than golden. I’m never comfortable with the “press the center with your finger to see if it springs back” direction. It always springs back, but sometimes it isn’t done. But the cake was nicely risen up in the middle so I figured it was done. I removed it from the oven and eventually it fell a little in the middle. Oh oh. Well, it could have used about 5-10 more minutes, I think. But it was done in all but the very center of the cake. It was a little more moist there, but not raw or anything.
After waiting the 20 minutes, I loosened around the outside of the cake with a knife and then turned it upside down onto a plate. It came out beautifully and the parchment peeled off nicely. I sliced and served the cake topped with whipped cream and it was so flavorful! I loved that the outside crust was a little bit chewy and the inside was moist and light and tasted a little like grapefruit. The blackberries were a perfect match, sweetened by the sugar that is sprinkled on them on the bottom of the pan.
Of course my mind started thinking about next time, because I definitely will make this cake again. I think I will use lime zest. That would be another great match for the blackberries. This cake was so good, I can’t wait to try it again! Actually I could use other berries or fruits as well. Pineapple chunks or blueberries sound interesting….
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
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)
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 cake bounces back when pressed gently with fingertip, about 1 hour 25 minutes for a 9″ pan and about 1 hour for a 10″ pan. Let cool in pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of the 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.