Monday, 29 August 2011

This Takes The Cake

I love this time of year in Victoria, BC for so many reasons. I won't get into all of them now, but I will tell you about one of them.

Blackberries. If you live here, you know what I mean. If you don't, I'll tell you! 

These sweet and tart little gems grow wild in almost every ditch, along almost every path, and almost anywhere else you can think of. And I don't mean just in the country either, because these suckers grow wild in the city too. 

I like to think that I am doing everyone a favour by picking baskets full of the fruit because then there is less fruit for the huge population of wild, city dwelling deer, as well less fruit for the homeless people. 

And if you think I'm being a little callous, maybe I do sound that way. But all I am really hoping for is for the deer to move out where it's safer and the homeless people to find fulfilling lives off the street. That's not as callous, right? 

Anyway, back to business. This recipe really does take the cake. 

I've taken it almost directly from Bon Appetit's July 2011 issue because it's just so great the way they showed it.

All I have done differently is to use almond extract in place of the vanilla extract and orange zest, and I used regular skim milk in place of buttermilk and duck eggs in place of chicken eggs.

Duck eggs really make baking much more creamy and delicious, but that's a story for another day... 

Does these small substitutions make it better? You tell me!

Blackberry Cake 

3/4 cup butter or margarine 
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries (hopefully picked for free off a path in Victoria!)
1/4 cup + 1 1/3 cups sugar
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
3 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup skim milk
Powdered sugar, for dusting 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9-10 inch springform pan for baking by placing a piece of parchment paper around the flat circle and attaching the sides over top of the paper. This makes it a bit easier than cutting a perfect circle of parchment to fit your pan. 

2. Grease parchment and dust with a bit of flour. Then place washed and dried berries in an even layer on the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with a quarter cup of sugar.

3. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside. 

4. Combine butter and remaining sugar in a large bowl and beat with mixers until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by almond extract.

5. Next add in milk and flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. 

6. Pour cake batter over berries and bake for about 1 hour 25 minutes or until cake is browned on the top and a toothpick comes out clean. 

7. Let cake cook for about 15 minutes before loosening sides with a butter knife and releasing the edges of the pan. Flip the pan onto a serving plate and gently peel away the parchment paper. 

8. Cut a slice and dust with a bit of powdered sugar and enjoy!

I used a loose leaf tea strainer for dusting my sugar and I think this tip is almost as good as this cake. 

Let me know what you think? 

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