From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Our beautiful summer days have produced a bumper crop of Himalayan blackberries. Many consider them to be a noxious weed. It's true they are invasive and their canes are thorny, but their flowers add wonderful color to riverbanks and roadsides, and the berries, when picked at the proper stage of ripeness, are delicious. While out walking today, I came across a family picking berries on the riverbank and a long forgotten memory swept over me. During WWII my mother kept a victory garden that we'd visit everyday. It was one of many in a large lot whose boundaries were marked by dense thickets of thorny blackberries. The berries lured pint-sized pickers whose arms needed protection before the thicket could be braved. Unfortunately, the heat of the Midwestern summer made long sleeves impractical, so my ingenious mother cut the toes off old socks and fashioned high gloves for my sister and I to wear for berry picking. We, and the other children of the neighborhood, got to be expert at recognizing berries at the perfect stage of ripeness and had contests to see who could pick the most. I never won because I ate better than half of what I picked. These days I leave the berry picking for others to enjoy, but I've become proficient at finding ways to use the berries when they come my way. This homely recipe makes a great breakfast cake that's nearly effortless to prepare. If you have blackberries on hand you might want to give it a try.
Blackberry Breakfast Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Martha Stewart
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, + more for greasing the pan
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine)
About 3/4 pound blackberries (2 cups)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch deep dish pie pan or 9-inch square cake pan.
2) Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
3) In bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 cup of the sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until well combined.
4) Gradually add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with milk in 2 parts, and beat on low speed until smooth. (Note: batter will be thick.)
5) Transfer batter into prepared pan and smooth with a spatula (if you use a square cake pan, the batter will only come about 3/4-inch up the sides of the pan -- that's ok). Arrange blackberries on top and sprinkle with reserved 2 tablespoons sugar.
6) Bake for ten minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees F and bake until the cake is lightly golden and a tester comes out clean, about an hour. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack. Serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired. Yield: 10 servings.
Cook's Note: Cake can be stored at room temperature for several days, loosely covered.
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