Arkansas Blackberry Buttermilk Cake

I love nothing more than to take what fruits & veggies are in season locally & use them in the kitchen. Of course, when the first crop of Arkansas blackberries showed up at the Bernice Garden Farmers' Market a few weeks ago, I just had to take advantage of the opportunity. 

Most of us think blackberry cobbler when we think desserts--and don't get me wrong, blackberry cobbler is fantastic (you haven't lived until you've picked the berries yourself & have made a cobbler over a fire in a cast-iron dutch oven!), but these berries were BEGGING for something a little different. 

When I stumbled upon Bon Appetit's recipe for Blackberry Buttermilk Cake, I knew I had found just thing to bring out the sweet yet tangy flavor of these Arkansas jewels. 

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake (adapted from Bon Appetit)

Here's what you'll need:

- 3/4 cup of unsalted butter (~1.5 sticks), cooled to room temperature
- 2 1/3 cups of cake flour (sift, THEN measure)
- at LEAST 2.5 cups (~10 ounces) fresh blackberries
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar for sprinkling berries
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar for cake 
- 3/4 tablespoon of iodized salt
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract
- 1.5 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- powdered sugar (for dusting, if desired)

- 9" round cake pan
- parchment paper
- hand mixer
- rubber spatula
- rasp grater
- nonstick spray, if desired

Here's how to do it:

1. Tear a sheet of parchment paper. Lay flat. Take 9" round cake pan and trace the bottom of the pan. Cut out the round. 

2. Butter or spray bottom of pan with nonstick spray. Place parchment round in the bottom of your pan. This will ensure an easy release for your cake after cooling! 

3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place baking rack in center of oven. 

4. Butter or spray parchment. Lightly dust with flour--not too much, or you'll have unbaked flour on the top of your cake! 

5. Take your blackberries and arrange them on the parchment in a single layer. The spacing doesn't matter, so if you have more berries & want more berries in your cake, go on and add 'em in!

6. Sprinkle your berries with 1/4 of a cup of sugar. 

7. Sift 2 1/3 cups flour using a sifter. Add baking powder, salt, baking soda. These ingredients will go into a medium bowl. Set it aside.

8. Using an electric mixer, beat 3/4 of a cup of butter and the remaining amount of granulated sugar (1 1/3 cups) at medium-high speed, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. You'll know it's done when it's PALE & fluffy!

9. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after you add each one.

10. Beat in vanilla extract & orange zest.

11. Reduce the speed on your mixer to LOW and begin adding flour and buttermilk, alternating. You'll add a little flour, then a little buttermilk, then a little flour until you're done! Beat until JUST incorporated--don't let it go too long, or your cake will be thin.

12. Pour batter over berries in pan. Smooth the top. 

13. Bake cake until golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. It's done when you press your cake & it bounces back gently with your finger tip!

14. Cool in pan on wire rack about 25 minutes. Then, run around edge of pan using a thin, sharp knife to loosen cake. 

16. Invert cake onto rack, remove pan. Peel off parchment.

17. Dust top generously with powdered sugar.

This dessert is guaranteed to make the hardest-to-please guests berry, berry happy. 

You're welcome for that pun!

What's your favorite thing to make with locally-grown goodies? Leave us a comment & tell us--who knows, it may be YOUR recipe we're making next!

Always Arkansassy,


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