How often do you have buttermilk, blackberries, oranges, and Beaumes-de-Venise in the house at the same time?  I’m usually one out of four, maaaaaybe two out of four right after shopping.  But four-for-four?!?  Never.

Until today.  The stars aligned correctly and dessert was made!

I had a pint of buttermilk that really needed using this week so I went to Epicurious to see about a buttermilk cake.  I had the ingredients for a buttermilk pie, but I was in a cake mood.

Scrolling through the recipes I saw a buttermilk cake with blackberries and knew I had my winner.  And OMG!  I had all the ingredients – including the sweet muscat wine!  (It’s actually been taking up space in the ‘fridge for a while, now…)

Time to get to work.  The recipe called for a 9″ round layer pan, but I used an 8″ square.  Otherwise, I followed the recipe verbatim.

The cake itself is excellent.  Tender, moist, just dense enough – and lots of flavor.  The wine syrup adds a great flavor, and blackberries…  Really… how bad can blackberries be?!?

This is one I shall think of again.  It really rocks!

The recipe comes from Gourmet Magazine circa 2001.

Buttermilk Cake with Blackberries and Beaumes-de-Venise

  • 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

For topping

  • 3/4 cup Beaumes-de-Venise or other white dessert wine
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (3- by 1-inch) strip fresh orange zest
  • 1/3 cup seedless blackberry preserves or 1/2 cup blackberry preserves with seeds, strained
  • 4 cups fresh blackberries (1 1/2 lb)

Make cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line bottom of a buttered 9- by 2-inch round cake pan with a round of wax paper, then butter paper.

Sift together flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then, with mixer at low speed, beat in all of buttermilk until just combined. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing after each addition until just combined.

Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top, and bake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin sharp knife around edge of cake to loosen. Invert onto rack, then slide cake onto a cake plate.

Make topping:
Bring wine, 3 tablespoons sugar, and zest to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil until syrup is reduced to about 2/3 cup, 1 to 2 minutes. Discard zest.

Reserve 2 tablespoons syrup and pour remainder slowly and evenly over cake (cake will absorb syrup).

Stir together reserved syrup, preserves, and remaining tablespoon sugar in small saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 1 minute (it should be the consistency of a thick syrup). Put blackberries in a large bowl, then pour preserves mixture over berries. Gently stir berries with a rubber spatula to coat, then pour over cake, mounding blackberries on top.

Serve warm or at room temperature.