summer berry cake

Summer means berries. And when there are berries, you just have to eat them with everything. With yogurt and granola, in homemade smoothies, on top of salads, and—my personal favorite—in cake. I found this recipe for a one-layer buttermilk cake filled with blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries while searching Instagram. In a happy accident, I found the account @katiebirdbakes (a kindred spirit? absolutely) which led to this amazing blog, which led to this amazing recipe. Berries dropped on top of the batter before baking, sinking while cooking to perfectly disperse their flavor through the almond-flavored sponge. Sugar sprinkled on top for a sugar-sweet crunch. I chose to whip up some vanilla bean whipped cream to spoon on top of the slices (though not pictured), and it was the finishing light touch to an easy summer dessert.

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Cake recipe from Katiebird Bakes: 

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons almond extract
  • ~ 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • mixed berries (I used blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries)
  • granulated sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease the bottom and sides of a 10″ round pan with butter, to keep cake from sticking.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in almond extract and lemon zest until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the mixed ingredients in thirds, beating until just combined each time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary; I recommend after each addition of flour, as the batter will be thick.

Pour the batter into the greased pan and spread evenly. Place berries on top of the batter (do not push them in) in an arrangement of your choosing, but make sure to cover the cake. Sprinkle more granulated sugar on top of the batter and berries, as this will make a slightly crunchy crust of sweetness on top. I used about 2 tablespoons of extra sugar, so the cake would be coated.

Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the sides then flipping the cake out onto a cooling rack. Take care to not let the cake break in half in the process, as it is a larger layer than usual.

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream:

  • ½ to ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • a touch of vanilla bean paste

Set a small bowl and the beaters from a hand mixer in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.

Pour desired amount of whipping cream in chilled bowl and beat on high speed with hand mixer until soft peaks form. Do not over beat, as you will need to beat more once the sugar and vanilla bean are added.

Add powdered sugar, more or less to your taste, and the vanilla bean paste to the whipping cream, and beat again until fully combined. Your whipped cream is perfect when you pull the beaters out and little peaks form that hold their shape.

Top slices of the berry cake with a generous dollop of whipped cream, and enjoy for dessert, an afternoon snack, or breakfast.

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