Buttermilk Cake with Fresh Berries

April 29, 2014
Summer, Spring, Dessert, Brunch

Yields: 1 9-inch cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla sugar,* divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh berries (chopped ripe peaches or mango are great, too)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F with a rack in the middle. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan that has been lined with parchment (don't skip the parchment if you want the cake to come out of the pan!)

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter and 1/2 cup vanilla sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well.

4. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.

5. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing top. Scatter berries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla sugar.

6. Bake until cake is lightly golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. This cake has a super tender crumb so sometimes there will be moist crumbs on the pick (even when it's fully baked) but that's okay; I still take out the cake. It will continue to cook as it cools.

7. Cool in pan for at least 30 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool fully. Sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

*Make vanilla sugar by mixing one vanilla bean (halved and scraped) with 3-4 cups of granulated sugar. Allow to sit for at least 24 hours. Will keep (basically forever!) in an airtight container. Just keep addding scraped vanilla bean pods and top off with more sugar.

**Also, this recipe bakes up nicely in a 13x9 baking pan. Just double the recipe and bake for an additional 10 minutes or so.