My original plan this weekend was to make a Bourbon Barrel Cake. I have to admit, that for a store-bought cake, these things are pretty good. On the other hand, there are more artificial ingredients, flavor and texture enhancers, and additives in it than I will normally go for. Hell – even the bourbon is an extract! Powdered milk, powdered eggs – whites and yolks and their accompanying stabilizers – all add to the chemical shitstorm.

There’s a reason that your basic home cook can’t replicate a store-bought or cake-mix cake – they don’t have a chemistry degree or access to those commercial ingredients. And as scratch baking has slipped to the wayside, the cake mix flavor and texture has become the standard that one wants and then feels like a failure when they can’t do it.

Loved the cake, knew I wasn’t going to buy one, and then decided that making one this weekend was going to give me more cake than I needed – not wanted, needed. Let’s face it, I could down half a cake without batting an eye. I love my desserts and really love boozy desserts.

I have an idea for making one, but I’m saving it for a crowd.

I didn’t make that – yet – but we have to have our dessert, so… I decided on a Berry Cake. We had blackberries and raspberries in the ‘fridge so off I went.

The recipe is a bit of a single layer right-side up upside-down cake, made in a pie plate. I think the concept originally came from Martha Stewart, but I didn’t write it down, so I’m not positive. It seems like a Martha recipe, though!

Berry Cake

  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup sugar plus more for top
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 12 oz mixed berries

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter a 10-inch pie plate.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

Mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk, and vanilla.

Slowly add flour mixture and mix just until blended.

Place in buttered pie plate. Arrange berries on top of batter, pressing into batter. Sprinkle top with 2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F/160°C and bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour.

Cool and enjoy!

This really was a better match for the weekend – a nice crunch from the sugar on top, the cake was light, and the berries perfectly sweet.

And the Bourbon Barrel Cake is still a concept that’s going to happen.

Reasonably soon.