Thursday, July 5, 2012

almost never too hot to bake: buttermilk berry bundt cake

It's over 100 degrees here in lovely Central Indiana and it seems just about everywhere else (except temperate LA, right Kelly?).  But when I saw this buttermilk berry bundt cake recipe, I heated up the oven anyway for a Fourth of July dessert.  There actually were fireworks here, but it was too blessed hot to trek into town to see them. So there would be plenty of time to enjoy dinner and dessert with the neighbors before settling in front of the big screen in the blissfully cold basement to watch the Tour de France or whatever else we could find instead of fireworks.

This cake exceeded expectations and I'm guessing there were three reasons:  King Arthur Flour cake enhancer which continues to amaze me with tender and moist cakes whenever I add it into the flour mixture, buttermilk which just makes everything tastier without tipping the scales too much more and the beautiful thick layer of lemon icing.  The recipe encouraged me to keep it thick and slather it on so I did.  You could make this cake using 3 cups of just about any fruit or fruits.  If you have beautiful peaches, give those a try (maybe with blueberries or raspberries).  Earlier in the spring this would have  yielded an amazing rhubarb cake.  And if all you have is frozen berries, don't worry because I almost never use fresh berries in a baked dessert unless they are in season*, cheap and I have too many to eat fresh out of the bowl or on my yogurt or cereal.  I used fresh raspberries and frozen blueberries.  My fresh strawberries were way too juicy and sweet to bake into a cake.  Side note:  don't you love it when berries actually taste like strawberries or raspberries and not just generic red fruit?  Nothing like fresh from the market, field or farm.
*I made this cake again this week for my lululemon co-workers who were super disappointed there were no leftovers and since berries are in-season they were nice and inexpensive and the fresh blueberries were so good.  Make the cake now while the fresh berries are budget-friendly!

Maybe you still have a summer party or two that you could offer to bring dessert and amaze everyone with this cake.  Mine only had to make it from the kitchen to the dining room, but it would travel very well.  Just because the Fourth of July has come and gone, there is still plenty of summer to go.  Stay cool.  Use that oven early in the morning.



Buttermilk Berry Bundt Cake

cake
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (kosher salt is my go-to and it works just fine in baked goods)
2 heaping T King Arthur Flour Cake Enhancer (very optional, but it's a baking miracle ingredient)
1 C unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 C sugar
zest of one lemon (you'll use the juice for the icing)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 C lowfat buttermilk
3 C berries or other fruit in small dice

glaze
2 C confectioner's sugar
juice of one lemon
1 T unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 10-cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray (mine has flour included which is a nice thing, but overkill because my Bundt pan is silicone) or grease very well with butter.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cake enhancer (if using).  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until very light and fluffy or about 4-5 minutes.  Reduce mixer speed to low and add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately (about 1/3 of the flour and 1/3 of the buttermilk at a time).  Scrape down the sides and only mix until well-blended.  Toss berries with 2 T of flour and carefully fold by hand into the cake batter (try to keep the berries whole).

Drop the batter by big spoonfuls into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.  Set the cake on a cooling rack for 30 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.  Cool completely.

Make the icing by whisking together the confectioner's sugar, lemon juice and butter until very smooth.  I had to add additional lemon juice and a little milk to get the right consistency, but add additional liquids very sparingly because a thick icing is the goal.  Spread across top of cooled cake thickly allowing icing to drape over the sides (I'd say drip, but mine was too thick for dripping).  Serve immediately or cover and store at room temperature up to 3 or 4 days.  No way it lasts that long!

folding in berries

ready to bake

cooling

icing, nice and thick

now we are talking

leftovers!


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