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for the picking

August 08 2013 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe » 9 comments

Blackberry-Swirl Pound Cake

If you walk out our front door and take a right, the road quickly dead-ends into a street that climbs a steep hill, wide enough for only one car to pass, with houses on one side and a thick wall of trees and bushes on the other.  A month or so ago, I noticed that many of those bushes were suddenly bearing not-yet-ripe berries.  They were still small and pale, but I suspected that they were blackberries, which grow wild all over Seattle.  A few warm weeks later, the berries have plumped and turned a deep, inky purple.  They’re ripe, as they say, for the picking.

Blackberry-Swirl Pound CakeBlackberry-Swirl Pound Cake

When we learned of our neighborhood’s annual block party, which was held a couple nights ago, I wondered what to bring to the party to share, and my mind quickly turned to those blackberries.  I settled on a pound cake, and determined that I would thread a ribbon of blackberry puree throughout it.

Blackberry-Swirl Pound Cake

After dinner the night before the party, I took a bowl and towel (I’ve learned that those berries are juicy!) down the street.  As the late evening sun went golden, I filled up my bowl with fruit.  The berries, once home, went into the food processor, where they whirred around with a couple spoonfuls of sugar.  The violet mixture became smooth after a pass through a sieve.

blackberry-swirl pound cake

The pound cake was pretty straightforward: whip the butter and sugar before mixing in the eggs and vanilla.  Then, alternating between the two, add the dry ingredients and a bit of thick yogurt.  Spoon half the batter into a loaf pan, before adding half the berry puree, and repeat.  The next part is the best part: take a thin knife or offset spatula and drag it through the thick batter, tracing blackberry trails throughout the cake.

Blackberry-Swirl Pound Cake

Once baked and cooled, I sliced the loaf into fat, berry-streaked slices, dusted with powdered sugar, and stacked them on a paper plate that we brought to the block party, where the sun went golden once again as it set over those blackberry bushes.

Blackberry-Swirl Pound CakeBlackberry-Swirl Pound Cake

Blackberry-Swirl Pound Cake
Lightly Adapted from Everyday Food

Yield: 10 slices

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
6 ounces blackberries (1 1/3 cups)
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup yogurt or sour cream, room temperature
powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan and line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; butter parchment. In a food processor, puree blackberries with 2 tablespoons sugar.  Pass the pureed mixture through a strainer and discard the seeds.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with yogurt/sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Transfer half the batter to pan and dot with 1/2 cup blackberry puree. Repeat with remaining batter and puree. With a skewer or thin-bladed knife, swirl batter and puree together. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours. Let cool in pan on a wire rack, 30 minutes. Lift cake out of pan and place on a serving plate; let cool completely before slicing.  Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

9 comments so far. »
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  1. Alice says on August 08 2013 at 8:48 pm:

    That looks gorgeous. How lucky you are to have a blackberry source on your doorstep! My cousin lives in Fremont and I’m always jealous when visiting of the abundance of berries in suburban Seattle. Such a treat.

  2. Julia says on August 09 2013 at 12:50 am:

    Looks really delicious! And obviously the blackberries stayed in the neighbourhood ;)

  3. Kate says on August 09 2013 at 5:32 am:

    Wild berries and pound cake sound like a perfect match.

  4. Jess says on August 09 2013 at 9:21 am:

    I love the way you took us down the street to those berries. And I think this may be the most beautiful pound cake I’ve ever seen. Holy blackberries!

  5. Kristin says on August 09 2013 at 9:39 am:

    Alice: It’s quite a perk — one of the many lovely little surprises we’ve discovered since moving here.

    Julia: They did! : )

    Kate: Yes — so good! The tartness of the berries played perfectly with the richness of the cake.

    Jess: Holy blackberries, indeed! They just keep comin’. Thanks for your kind words, friend.

  6. Jackie says on August 11 2013 at 6:27 pm:


    What kind of seive did you use to strain the blackberry puree in fine, medium, coarse etc.

    Also, can you use frozen blackberries when they are out of season.

  7. Julie says on August 12 2013 at 11:16 am:

    We are just about to head up to our cabin and have heard from friends that masses of blackberries are now ripe. Your recipe will be the first one I make of the season!

  8. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on August 12 2013 at 7:41 pm:

    Jackie: Thanks for your questions. I used a medium metal strainer. And, yes, I think frozen blackberries would be just fine (thaw before using, of course).

    Julie: Enjoy the cabin (and those blackberries)!

  9. Laura@baking in pyjamas says on September 18 2013 at 6:06 am:

    What a beautiful pound cake, I love it’s colour.

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