Category Archives: Cakes

Buttermilk Berry Cake

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how I love to bake for people because of the satisfaction I get from watching them enjoy. I usually follow that up by telling people not to be alarmed that I’m watching them take their first bite of cake. I just like to see how people react! Is that a crime? Granted, this does make me feel like the old woman in The Wedding Singer who paid Adam Sandler for singing lessons with a meatball in each hand. Is that acceptable by the way? Can I pay for goods and services with baked goods? I’ll have to do more research.

So why then has it been so long since I’ve updated? Well it’s not for lack of baking! I have been, probably more than ever. I started an internship in January and it turns out that the people in my office loves sweets! Shocker! I was baking something nearly every week, and the good people I work with have been kind enough to eat all the goodies I’ve made over the past few months. But then one day, a few weeks ago, we received some terrible news: an office-wide weight loss challenge would take place through the end of the summer. WHY, GOD, WHY?! Once I recovered from the shock, I took a hard look at the situation. Am I participating in the challenge? No. Is most of the office? Yes. Am I a cruel, cruel person who wants to torture the good, dieting people with the demon cookies that I bake out of the goodness of my heart? Well, I haven’t quite answered that one yet.

You know, I resisted for a while. The few people that aren’t trying to lose weight in the office give me dirty looks in the hallway. I’ve only brought in cocoa Rice Krispies treats since this whole thing started and instead of writing a note to let people know what it is (as I usually do), I put an apology note. Well, no more! I will not apologize for baking! You’ll eat this cake and you’ll like it! No, really, you’ll love it. This cake is so moist and you can use any berries you like in it. Maybe the people in my office will like it so much they’ll forget to be mad..A triumphant return to baking and blogging!

Buttermilk Berry Cake
Adapted from a few different recipes

Ingredients
For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh or frozen berries (I used a mix of blueberries and diced strawberries here, but you could use anything. Raspberries are particularly good)

For the Topping:
¾ cup berries
¼ cup raw sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
For the Cake:
1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13×9-inch baking pan.

2. Whisk 2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of the flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of the milk. Beat in half of the remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss the berries with remaining 1 teaspoon flour. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in berries. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

For the Topping:
4.  Scatter the berries over top of the batter. Stir the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean (this cake was done for me in 35 minutes but some recipes call for 45 to 50 minutes). Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and cool completely. Cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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Blitz Torte with Strawberries

Twice a year my boyfriends’ parents come to visit for a long weekend. It’s become tradition that on Friday night they cook a huge Italian meal (complete with antipasto, bread and baked ziti) and I bring dessert. Well, I made the “mistake” of making this last year. It went over so well that I have not been able to top it. Cheesecake, chocolate peanut butter cake, cookies, lemon pie. Nothing has been as good.

Until now…nearly. I’ve learned that there are certain criteria that really push a dessert over the top for this crowd. Anything too heavy and rich doesn’t do it. Anything with fruit gets bonus points. Also, I like to challenge myself by coming up with something a little unusual and something different from what I’ve made before.

After MUCH searching, I found this. Blitz Torte. It means lightning cake in German. I have no idea how that’s relevant, but this cake was freaking good so who am I to question the name? I have never seen anything like this cake. Two thin layers of yellow cake topped with meringue and baked all at once then filled with cream and berries. You can use any berries that look good. Luckily we’re starting to get beautiful strawberries down here, so I took full advantage of that. It was a hit. A big hit. My only problem now is finding something that will top this.

Blitz Torte with Strawberries
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks (save the whites for the topping)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

For the meringue:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar

For topping:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For filling:

  • 1 small box of instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 ¾ cups of cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • About 1 ½ cups strawberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8″ round or 9″ round cake pans.

For the cake: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, and egg yolks. Beat in the vanilla, milk, baking powder, and flour. Divide the mixture in the prepared pans and spread to the edges (the batter will barely cover the bottom of the pans; that’s ok).

Beat the egg whites till frothy. Gradually add the 3/4 cup sugar and continue to beat till the meringue is smooth, glossy and somewhat stiff (not quite to the peak stage, you want it to be sort of marshmallow cream consistency). Spread the meringue on the cake batter, not quite to the edges, and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, until lightly browned. (NOTE: do not put the cakes on the top rack. The meringue will rise a lot on the oven but settle as it cools.) While the cakes bake, chop up the strawberries and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Remove cakes from the oven, allow them to cool for 15 minutes, then loosen the edges and gently turn them out onto a rack to cool completely.

When cakes are cool, whisk the pudding mix with vanilla and cream for about 2 minutes then allow to set up for an additional 5 minutes. Whisk again to make sure the cream is smooth.

To assemble: Place one of the cake layers, meringue side up, on a serving plate. Spread with the pudding mixture then add the berries. Top with the second cake layer, meringue-side up. Devour.

Yields 8 to 10 servings