Blackberry Buttermilk Cake


We have had some truly awesome blackberries so far this summer - plump and full of flavor and perfectly ripe. When I saw the Blackberry Buttermilk Cake in Bon Appétit, I thought it would be the perfect way to incorporate the delicious berries into our 4th of July party, as well as serve alongside the Cherry Hand Pies.

I am typically not a cake person - I'll take a scoop of ice cream, a slice of pie or a brownie any day over a piece of cake. I find most cakes to be too dry -- this one, however, is incredibly moist thanks to the buttermilk and the layer of blackberries. You could almost eat it for breakfast like this breakfast cake, but I have resisted doing that... so far!

If I served this again, I'd add a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top of each slice. That wasn't practical given that we were outside, but it would be a nice touch.  I made this cake one day ahead of time. If you prepare it in advance, be sure to dust it with powdered sugar just prior to serving as the powdered sugar will have soaked into the cake. I do think it is best served shortly after baking.

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake
Bon Appétit, July 2011
Special Equipment - Use a 9"-10"-diameter springform pan 


  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan and parchment
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour (sifted, then measured) plus more for pan
  • 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)


  • Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Butter pan; line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter parchment. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Arrange berries in a single layer in bottom of pan; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup sugar.
  • Sift 2 1/3 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup butter and remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar in a large bowl at medium-high speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and zest. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until incorporated. Pour batter over berries in pan; smooth top.
  • Bake until cake is golden brown and cake bounces back when pressed gently with fingertip, about 1 hour 25 minutes for a 9" pan and about 1 hour for a 10" pan. Start checking the cake at 45 minutes - reviewers stated that their cakes baked quickly. Minute took 1 hour 10 minutes but I covered the top loosely with tinfoil at 45 minutes to prevent over-browning. 
  • Garnish cake with fresh blackberries or whipped cream.