Summer in the Pacific Northwest means berries. Strawberries, then raspberries, wild salmon berries, huckleberries, blueberries, and finally blackberries.
Oakleigh is obsessed with berries (or as she calls them: buhs) of all kinds. She and Daddy pick them on their afternoon walks. On the weekends, she and I have been setting out in the stroller to stock up on blackberries. Every handful that goes into the container, she gets one, and is ecstatic every single time. Que enthusiastic “Mmmmm!”
There are two great berry cake recipes that I found over the past few years.
The first is actually for plums, but would probably be great with any kind of buh instead 🙂
Fresh Plum Torte
- ¾ to 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- 2 eggs
- 24 halves pitted purple plums
- Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, for topping
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.
- Spoon the batter into a springform pan of 8, 9 or 10 inches. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, depending on how much you like cinnamon.
- Bake 1 hour, approximately. Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired. Or cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped cream. (To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.)
This second recipe is a new find this year. I was in search of a fruit heavy coffee cake with crumb topping. After scouring the internet I combined two different recipes and am hooked on this new combo. We tried it with raspberries and blackberries…both are excellent. You can load it up with berries and it still comes out light and beautiful!
Berry Crumb Top Coffee Cake
For the topping:
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 tablespoons butter-chilled and cubed
For the Cake:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 4-5 cups fresh berries (raspberries and blackberries are our favorites)
- To make the topping: Combine sugar, flour and chilled cubed butter in a bowl. Stir with a fork (ok) or pastry blender (ideal) until the mixture is crumbly.( Make sure the mix is in pea-sized crumbs)
- Make the Cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a round 9-inch cake pan (or 8×8, or other pan…it really does not matter just adjust baking time accordingly). Optional: line the bottom of the pan with parchment, grease the parchment, then flour the inside of the pan. Or just butter and flour the pan. Both work fine, but the parchment keeps the cake slightly lighter on the bottom if any berries come in contact with the pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Reduce the mixer speed to medium, then add eggs one at a time; beat for 5 to 10 seconds, then scrape down bowl and continue to beat until fully incorporated (mixture will appear broken). Reduce the mixer speed to low, then gradually add the flour mixture and beat slowly until the flour is almost fully incorporated, about 20 seconds. Use a rubber spatula to finish mixing until no flour pockets remain (the batter will be very heavy and thick). Add berries and allow the mixer to turn 3-5 more times to roughly distribute and mush the berries (you can also just do this by hand with a spatula to keep them whole)
- Transfer batter to prepared pan; gently spread the batter evenly to the pan edges and smooth the surface. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter.
- Bake until the top is deep golden brown and a thin knife inserted into center of the cake comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Place on a wire rack for 20 minutes (the cake will fall slightly as it cools).
- Run a thin knife around the sides of cake. Invert the cake, then peel off the parchment from the bottom of the cake and discard. Turn the cake right-side-up onto a cooling rack or serving dish. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.