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has my heart

September 07 2011 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Breakfast,Dessert,Recipe,Vacation » 16 comments

berry buttermilk cake

The last few days of cooler weather and earlier sunsets have me nostalgic for the summer that’s all but slipped away.  For long nights on the deck.  For meandering walks through the neighborhood.  For fireflies and hoses and ice cream on a Wednesday evening.  There was all of that this summer, and there was a perfect weekend in the northwoods, too.  One I won’t forget soon.

Kevin and I drove from Chicago to the south shore of Lake Superior, to meet my family for a night of camping.  (Note to self: camp with my parents more often.  Their version of rustic is one that I can definitely get behind.)

campsite happy hourcampsite happy hourcampsite sunset

Then we went into Minnesota, up along the north shore of Lake Superior—the shore I know like the back of my hand.

north shore / minnesotanorth shore / minnesotanorth shore / minnesota

We spent two nights at my grandparents’ house.  We tried to pick wild blueberries (and failed—we’d missed the season).  We rode the Alpine Slide.  We drank beer brewed in Ashland, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota.  We saw the sunset over Lake Superior, before that same sun glittered across the same lake the next day.

lake superior sunsetlake superior sunset

When we left before dawn at the end of the weekend, we saw the sunrise over the lake, too.  For as many times as I’ve seen that lake—that lake that has my heart—I’ve never seen the sun arch up over its waters.  It was spectacular.

lake superior sunrise

We left with that sunrise in our rearview mirror, a tub of just-picked blueberries and raspberries from my grandpa’s garden in the backseat, and the familiar bittersweet feeling of a too-short visit home.  It’s not unlike this end-of-summer feeling.  To stretch that trip out, and I suppose to stretch out the summer too, I baked the blueberries and raspberries into a simple buttermilk cake, ribboned with the berries’ crimson and sapphire juices.

berry buttermilk cakeberry buttermilk cake

Berry Buttermilk Cake
Adapted Slight from Gourmet

Serves 6 to 8

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh berries (about 5 ounces)

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round springform pan (or, if you don’t have a springform, a 9-inch cake pan).

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well.

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

Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter berries evenly over top.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. If using a springform pan, cool in the pan completely.  Run a knife along the edge of the pan, and unmold the cake.  If using a regular cake pan, cool the cake in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

16 comments so far. »
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  1. Britta says on September 07 2011 at 8:14 pm:

    This post made me happy. Lake Superior has my heart too…I grew up on the north shore. I’m not sure how I stumbled onto your blog, but I think it’s great! Love the photos!

  2. Microwave Goddess says on September 08 2011 at 5:11 am:

    Beautiful pics! We’re ready for Fall in our house tho :) it’s our favorite time of year.
    Just made a blueberry cake yesterday! Love your buttermilk version.

  3. Sara says on September 08 2011 at 6:21 am:

    I made a similar cake this spring, with berries frozen from a pyo excusion with my (then) toddler. It’s such a lovely, simple cake, not too sweet and so comforting. My favorite memories growing up are of picking berries at my grandparents. We are putting in raspberries and blueberries this week so hopefully we’ll be able to continue that tradition.

  4. Sara says on September 08 2011 at 6:22 am:

    I made a similar cake this spring, with berries frozen from a pyo excusion with my (then) toddler. It’s such a lovely, simple cake, not too sweet and so comforting. My favorite memories growing up are of picking berries at my grandparents. We are putting in raspberries and blueberries this week so hopefully we’ll be able to continue that tradition.

  5. The Hungry Traveler says on September 08 2011 at 7:01 am:

    OMG, Alpine Slide! I used to go to one somehwere in New England I think (I’m from NY so that must be where it was, but for hte life of me I can’t remember). I was soooo scared always before we went down, but then it was so much fun! Thanks for the reminder (and the cake)!

  6. kickpleat says on September 08 2011 at 12:28 pm:

    Before I met my husband, he rode his bike from Vancouver to Montreal and spoke about how much he loved riding his bike around Lake Superior. So when we drove to Chicago and back en route to so I could introduce him to my parents in Ontario, we drove around Lake Superior and I was also struck by how gorgeous it was! Love your photos and excited that this weekend I’ll go camping for my 2nd time this summer.

    I make a very similar cake and love how unfussy it is. Maybe I’ll bake one for the road!

  7. heather @ chiknpastry says on September 08 2011 at 2:39 pm:

    you’re making me very excited for camping! the cake looks great, and I’m jealous that you still found some lovely blueberries ;)

  8. Gemma says on September 09 2011 at 4:25 am:

    Oh, this cake looks great. I’m waiting for the blackberries to ripen around here and then I’ll get baking.

  9. katie says on September 09 2011 at 6:16 am:

    That looks simply stunning, both the cake and the location :)

  10. Peg says on September 09 2011 at 5:51 pm:

    Your lake photos made my mouth water as did your cake! I grew up on the west side of Lake Michigan and miss it so much. Never visited any other lake but now MUST do that! Thanks for sharing your stunning photos!!

  11. Neil | Butterfield says on September 12 2011 at 6:16 am:

    I can see why this place has your heart. What breathtaking pictures. You must have had a spectacular time. :-)

  12. Barbara says on September 12 2011 at 10:53 am:

    Nothing like the Great Lakes. I was brought up on them. What fun the camping trip sounds. Your photos are wonderful and bring back lots of memories.

  13. Sue/the view from great island says on September 16 2011 at 9:59 am:

    Beautiful colors throughout this post! I’ve been making a version of this cake with every fruit that I could get my hands on this summer. There are still some berries straggling on the bushes around here…I’ll try yours, it looks great.

  14. Christine says on September 29 2011 at 7:48 am:

    I love Ashland and the whole general “south shore” area. I hope you tried some of the Nut Brown or the pilsner at South Shore- my two favorites. :)

  15. Angela says on October 22 2011 at 8:55 pm:

    Beautiful cake! I love the color of the fruits showing through. Lovely blog!

  16. Elizabeth says on December 27 2011 at 11:13 pm:

    You are an amazing photographer!

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