One of the first cakes that I baked, and probably the one I have made the most frequently, since it is so simple yet so delicious. It's best made when fresh blueberries are available in the summer at the Farmer's market, but you can definitely make it all year round. The key to the moistness of this cake is buttermilk, since the acidity helps to tenderize the gluten in the batter. You can really use any berry of your choice in this recipe, but my favorites are blueberries and strawberries. The sugar that's sprinkled on top right before baking is a nice touch, with the crunchy crust that contrasts with the moist interior. The blueberries are the star of this cake, and you really want them to shine, so do not go overboard with the sugar sprinkling!
This cake is great as is, or with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream!
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1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (56g) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 2 1/4 teaspoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (no need to buy buttermilk! Add 1/2 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup of whole milk, and let sit for 10 minutes!)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
makes one 9-inch cake
prep time: 10-15 min
bake time: 20-25 min
adapted from smitten kitchen
Note: If you don't have buttermilk, make the buttermilk- add 1/2 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup of whole milk in a small bowl. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes until it thickens slightly. There you have it!
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat the butter and the 2/3 cup of sugar using an electric mixer on medium-high until the mixture is fluffy (about 1-2 minutes). This is easier to do if the butter is softened before mixing-- you can microwave the butter for about 15-20 seconds beforehand or let it sit out on the counter for a few minutes.
4. Beat in the vanilla and mix well. Add the egg and beat well.
5. At low speed, mix in the flour mixture and the buttermilk in three batches. Alternate, beginning with the flour and ending with the flour. Be very careful to not over-mix and only beat until just combined. For the last addition of flour and buttermilk, gently stir with a spatula until just mixed.
6. Pour the batter into the pan, and tap the pan firmly against the counter to make sure it is spread evenly. Scatter the blueberries on top and scatter the sugar evenly across (see picture).
7. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cake is golden and a thin knife comes out clean. I like to add some fresh blueberries in the center right after it comes out the oven for decoration. Let cool for 10 minutes, invert onto a rack, and let cool for 10-15 more minutes. Invert again onto a plate, and dust with powdered sugar before serving.