blackberry buttermilk cake with blackberry compote

June has sneaked right up on me. I knew it was coming, but that doesn’t make it any less surprising to find that the month of May has come to an end so quickly. June brings lots of events this year — my daughter’s last day of kindergarten, a trip to Chicago, our wedding anniversary, a trip to Las Vegas, and my mom’s (and her twin sister’s) birthday. And, with another month gone by comes another chance to pay homage to that great lost food-lovers’ magazine, Gourmet, with a recipe from June of years past for gourmet, unbound.

I decided to make a pair of recipes this month, instead of just one. It just made sense to prepare both. One seemed quite lonely without the other. The blackberry buttermilk cake was inspired by the raspberry buttermilk cake from the June 2009 issue, and the blackberry compote comes from the June 2000 issue.

I grew up eating the wild blackberries that grew in the woods surrounding my childhood home. I vividly remember hot Florida summers, getting scratched by the thorny brambles of the blackberry bushes, purple-stained fingers and lips, the sweet taste of the so-dark-purple-they-were-almost-black blackberries.

I recruited my most enthusiastic kitchen helper for assistance with this cake, and she did a fabulous job. She poured, mixed, greased the pan, placed the blackberries on the cake, and sprinkled sugar on top. She even gave me huge warm fuzzies when she told me she loved cooking with me. It made my afternoon all the more sweet.

This cake is fairly subtle, sweet but not oversweet. It’s the perfect light dessert to serve in the summer or with brunch. The compote really makes the dish, so don’t leave that part out.

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Blackberry Buttermilk Cake

(Recipe only slightly adapted from this recipe in the June 2009 issue of Gourmet. I used blackberries instead of raspberries, and I added some orange flower water to the wet ingredients. Makes 6 servings.)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon orange flower water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries (about 5 ounces)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in the middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. (Consider using a round of parchment in the bottom of the pan; I didn’t and I had some problems with the cake sticking.)
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Then beat in vanilla and orange flower water. Add egg and beat well.
  4. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.
  5. Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.
  6. Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate. Serve with blackberry compote.

Blackberry Compote

(Recipe from the June 2000 issue of Gourmet. This can be made ahead and kept covered and chilled for up to 4 days. Makes about 2 cups.)

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 whole allspice
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (about 15 ounces, fresh)
  1. Bring water, sugar, lemon juice, and allspice to a boil in a small saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Cool syrup to lukewarm and discard allspice.
  2. Purée 2 cups blackberries with all of syrup in a blender. Force purée through a fine sieve into a bowl to remove seeds. Stir remaining cup of berries into sauce; or, if not serving immediately, stir the whole berries in just prior to serving.
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13 Responses to “blackberry buttermilk cake with blackberry compote”

  1. 1
    Renee (Kudos Kookies) — May 30, 2010 @ 8:26 am

    That cake looks so tasty! I love blackberries so this recipe is something I plan to try. Plus, they’re good for you so you never have to feel guilty about eating 1/2 the cake by yourself, right? BTW, your helper looks like she did a wonderful job! Super post girls!

    • 1.1
      merrygourmet — May 30, 2010 @ 8:28 am

      Renee – I love the way you think! Yes, definitely a healthy cake. 😉

  2. 2
    C and C Dish — May 30, 2010 @ 10:51 am

    This cake looks wonderful…my kid’s are my best kitchen helpers, too!

  3. 3
    Macaroni Mama — May 30, 2010 @ 11:41 am

    I adore anything with blackberries.

  4. 4
    Pachecopatty — May 30, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

    What a sweet post! I remember berry picking in the summer, good times!

  5. 5
    SMITH BITES — May 30, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

    It makes me sooooo happy to see your daughter cooking in the kitchen with you! And she’s absolutely adorable to boot – not to mention that cake!

  6. 6
    Chef Dennis — May 30, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

    what a perfect looking cake!! Looks like you had some great help with it! your images are excellent!

  7. 7
    Magic of Spice — May 31, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

    The cake looks great. Love the photos, looks like they are great helpers:)

  8. 8

    Oooh I saw blackberries on sale at the grocery store, just might have to run back and pick them up to make this cake!! I love berry cakes, delicious.

  9. 9
    The Housewife — May 31, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

    I love cooking with kids and hopefully when mine is old enough, I can make some great memories! Beautiful post…

  10. 10
    Jean — June 2, 2010 @ 10:49 am

    The cake looks delicious–I don’t think I’ve ever made dessert with blackberries before.

    Love the story…

  11. 11
    Mrs. L — June 16, 2010 @ 7:11 pm

    The Gourmet Raspberry Buttermilk cake is a favorite and I’ve been meaning to try other fruits so this is perfect. This is a great addition to the Gourmet, Unbound June entries!

  12. 12
    Mauna — June 28, 2010 @ 11:15 pm

    Mmmmm… just made the blackberry compote and put it on top of homemade vanilla ice cream (another use for your ice cream maker!)

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