This recipe was first posted back in 2012, which means for three years I knew about it and didn’t make it. This blog was started in 2013, which means there’s been over two years (and specifically, two Fourth of Julys) where I haven’t made it. I don’t really have a good excuse, aside from the overwhelming number of patriotic-themed recipes on my “to make” list, and/or who really feels like turning the oven on when it’s 90 degrees outside? But inspired by the berries at the market this past weekend, I finally dug out my bundt cake pan (usually reserved for rum cake season) and whipped one up – a week ahead of schedule, even – and I’m so glad I did, because now I can encourage you all to make it this weekend. For in addition to being absolutely delicious, it’s the perfect cake for Fourth of July weekend – it’s simple, you can make it ahead of time, you can transport it anywhere pretty easily, it’s packed with seasonal summer berries, and of course it’s red, white, and blue, a prerequisite for any Fourth of July dessert.
I love this cake as written (Deb’s version is one cup raspberries, one cup blueberries, one cup blackberries), and the way I made it (per Deb’s suggestion, I added a fourth cup of berries – you could increase any or all of her three, but I used a cup of chopped strawberries so as to make her “triple berry bundt” a “quadruple berry bundt”), but I also love the idea that you could use this cake batter and add literally any fruit that you like. The original recipe (before Deb tweaked it) was for a rhubarb cake, and a lot of comments on Deb’s post recommended making it with peaches (yum!!). I’m also tempted to try an all strawberry version. If only it was 1950 and people were allowed to bake a cake a week.
Deb’s main tip (aside from adding a fourth cup of berries) was to make sure you grease your pan really, really well. I used PAM for baking and didn’t have a problem at all, but my bundt cake pan is nonstick – from the comments to her post it seems as though people without nonstick pans had problems regardless of how well they greased them. My only other tip is – and I’m pretty proud of myself about this – I recently read (in my new Huckleberry cookbook, recipes coming soon!) that in baking you should always double the amount of salt and vanilla the recipe calls for. I don’t have a problem doing this with vanilla – I feel like most recipes only call for one teaspoon, which seems like such a small amount – but the salt is a little scarier. According to Zoe, though, adding the extra salt brings out the sweetness of the sugar. She also recommends using only kosher salt, which I intend to do going forward but forgot in this particular instance.
I served this for dessert on Sunday and it was quite the crowd pleaser. So while I regret waiting three years to make it, I’m glad I finally did. Better late than never, right? Happy baking, and happy Fourth of July!
Berry Buttermilk Bundt Cake, from Smitten Kitchen
For the Cake
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt*
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
Zest of one lemon
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
3/4 cup buttermilk
4 cups mixed berries**
*the recipe as written calls for 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; I doubled both amounts as discussed above.
**recipe calls for only 3 cups berries – I loved it with 4 but if you only have 3 cups on hand you’ll be fine.
For the Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
Juice of one lemon
One tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
Make the Cake
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease and flour a 10 cup bundt cake pan, or spray with PAM for baking. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the 2 1/2 cups flour with baking powder and salt (reserving the 2 tablespoons flour); set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, stirring until just incorporated, then 1/2 of the buttermilk, another 1/3 flour, remaining buttermilk, and remaining flour. Scrape down the bowl as needed and beat as little as possible.
Toss the berries with the remaining 2 tablespoons flour and fold the berries as gently as possible into the cake batter. It’s virtually impossible to do this without squishing the berries, but do your best. My raspberries all squished but they made the batter a pretty pink color. Gently spread the batter into the well-greased pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until tester comes out clean, rotating the cake 180 degrees after 30 minutes so that it bakes evenly. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack before inverting it onto a serving platter. Let cool completely before frosting.
Make the Glaze
Stir the butter and lemon juice into the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth (use more lemon juice for a thinner icing, less for thicker – I used a little too much, so while it still tasted delicious it didn’t look quite as pretty as Deb’s). Drizzle the icing over the cake and let it drip down the sides.
Cake is delicious the day of, but even better the next day, and will last 3-4 days if tightly wrapped.