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Raspberries are, hands down, my favorite fruit. My love of raspberries began when I was a young girl in Iowa and I have never ever swayed from placing this fruit #1 on my list.
Unfortunately, they are only in season for a short time here in Seattle. That said, our local berries are one thing that makes it worth living here — worth the horrible traffic jams, worth muscling through the grey cool weather, worth it for so many other reasons.
This Fourth of July I didn’t get my act together to organize a party on our rooftop as in years way past. We had been busy doing so many other things that I only started thinking about the Fourth two days before the fireworks display. I did invite our son and daughter-in-law and their 1-year-old and a friend who was staying with them. I had already purchased meat for grilled burgers and I made potato salad and homemade pinto beans and a huge green salad. All I was missing was dessert. Yes, I had cookies in the freezer (of course) but somehow cookies didn’t seem adequately celebratory.
I looked through old Gourmet magazines from years past and found this pretty easy Raspberry Buttermilk Cake. Of course, I didn’t have buttermilk in the house, but I found kefir begging to be used. (Note: make your own buttermilk if you wish with vinegar or lemon juice and milk – there are recipes all over the Internet.) I used coarse raw sugar as a topping because I like the crunch and you’ve got to have a bit of sparkle on Independence Day. I only found salted butter hanging out in my refrigerator so I used that and then reduced the salt. I added lemon zest because how could that be bad?? Oh, and I shortened the baking time a lot – which was ample and perfect. And VOILA! The resulting cake was a thin, raspberry-studded, moist cake, best served with some whipping cream and more berries. Leftovers (you won’t have any) would be great as a breakfast cake along with your morning coffee.
Raspberry Dimple Cake
About 9 servings
Adapted from Gourmet, June 2009
- 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ stick salted butter (2 oz), softened
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon, grated on the Microplane grater
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup well-shaken plain (unsweetened) kefir. Buttermilk would work here as well.
- 1 pint fresh raspberries (It might take a little less, but have enough raspberries to place on top of the cake pretty close together – see picture)
- About 1 Tbsp raw demerara sugar for the topping
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch square brownie pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla and egg and beat well.
At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just mixed. With a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the cake pan, smoothing the top. Carefully place raspberries evenly over top (I put the hollow side – the side with the indentation of the raspberry up and stick the cone-shaped part into the batter) and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of raw sugar. My raspberries were taller than the batter, but I put them in there anyway because they collapse. If you do place them with the point side of the raspberry facing up, the raspberries sink into the batter and they don’t show as much which is fine, but I get perfectionistic about these things, you know.
Bake until the cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean – about 20 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, gently rock the pan to release the sides and cool to warm. If you want to remove the entire cake to a platter or board, lift it gently with the parchment. Slice and serve. This is beautiful with a dollop of whipping cream and fresh berries on the side. And don’t forget – this is a lovely breakfast option!
PS: I made another of these last night and left it with my grandkids, then got a phone message this morning that gave this cake a “Four Thumbs Up”. It doesn’t get better than that.