Ever since I started cooking and blogging about it I found myself in a perpetual chase for that one dish out there that could be the one. Like some of my girlfriends search for their one true soulmate, I am looking for that one perfect, I-can’t-live-life-without-it dish. I spend countless hours reading through the stained and torn cookbooks that litter my kitchen. I strain my eyes as I click from one delicious food blog to the next. I hop from coffee shop to bakery to market to eatery looking for inspiration and a hint at what my taste buds truly desire. Can a life built around the incessant pursuit of tantalizing food be healthy, mentally and physically?
Health aside, I find myself gleefully addicted to the simple joys that come from tasting something new for the first time. I am addicted to seeing smiles pierce unsuspecting faces as they too explore a once unknown flavor. The reactions bestowed upon us from that near perfect bite often excite much more in us than just our smile. Our eyes slowly close as our muscles relax letting us fall back into our chairs. Moans accompany “yum”s and “mmm”s. We lick our lips as to savor every last ounce of delicious, wonderful flavor. We look at each other in simple disbelief over what we have just experienced, over what one little bite can do.
Even when something goes completely awry, it can serve as a valuable learning experience. While it sucks to see a dish go straight to the trash can, there is some reassuring feeling coming from that momentary fail. You can bet I wont try it that way again. There is something that happens in cooking though that is incredibly annoying. It’s the inbetween dish. That dish that isn’t great but isn’t bad either. What is it? Do I like this? It’s tasty. Is it the texture? Something’s off. Do I give up on this? Do I try it again? What do I need to change to make it better.
This week I made a blackberry buckle cake. I love cake. I love berries. I even love buckles. So why am I hesistant about this blackberry buckle? Something seems just a tiny bit off about it.
The seeds! They get stuck in your teeth. They are tough. They are annoying. They don’t seem to bother me when I eat blackberries on their own, so why are they bothering me here? The only way I know to get rid of them is to puree the fruit and then pass it through a strainer. Yeah, after doing that I’d be left with juice and you can’t make a buckle with fruit juice. I quickly decided this buckle was worth it though. Who cares if I have to deal with these seeds! I love the juxtaposition between tart berries and the sweet cake and crumble topping.
This seed dilema got me thinking though so I decided to do a little research on these delicious little berries. Apparently they are quite healthy, at least some groups argue. They are chocked full of antioxidants, loaded with vitamins, filled with soluble fiber and more. The Live Strong Blog has an article worth reading. The article links to numerous other articles about blackberries as well. I also learned that the seeds are saturated in omega-3 fatty acids and contain a lot of fiber. So, apparently these blackberry seeds are healthy. How do I feel about getting a bite-full of seeds with this buckle? Not too bad!
If you haven’t tried making a buckle before, I say start with a blueberry buckle. It seems to be the go to variety and it is quite delicious. In fact you can substitute the blackberry in this recipe with blueberries if you’d like. If you’re like me though, and love the tartness of blackberries, I think you’ll enjoy this recipe. I make my buckle a little different than most do. In between the cake and crumble I add a layer of pureed blackberries. Not only does it add more of that delicious blackberry flavor but it adds a little visual extra.
I also make my cakes in a 10″ pan (I feed a lot of mouths so I tend to choose the bigger dishes). You can make this in a 9″ so long as it is a tall 9″ pan. Or try reducing the recipe by a third. Yeah that sounds like some crazy math. It may just be worth it to buy a 10″ cake pan.
Blackberry Buckle Ingredients
For the cake:
13 ounces all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 1/2 ounces sugar
3 ounces unsalted butter (6 tablespoons)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk
6 cups blackberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the crumble topping:
4 ounces sugar
4 ounces all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces cold unsalted butter
Step One: Preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare a 10″ pan with butter and flour.
Step Two: Make the crumble by putting all the ingredients in a bowl. Pinch the butter between your fingers in the other ingredients. Break the butter up until it is pea sized. Mix everything with your hands until the mixture resembles crumbs. Set aside.
Step Three: Prepare the blackberry layer. Put three cups of the blackberries in a blender and blend until just broken up. Mix in the cornstarch until well mixed. Set aside.
Step Four: Begin the cake. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Then add the vanilla.
Step Five: Mix the dry ingredients together. Add half of the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture. Mix in well.
Step Six: Add the milk to the creamed butter and flour mixture. Mix well.
Step Seven: Add the remainder of the flour and mix until just mixed in.
Step Eight: Fold in the remaining 3 cups blackberries. They will fall apart but that’s ok. Just don’t mix them in too much.
Step Nine: Pour the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Step Ten: Add the pureed/blended blackberrys on top.
Step Eleven: Add the crumble mixture ontop of the pureed blackberries.
Step Twelve: Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (a little crumb sticking to the toothpick is alright).
Allow the cake to cool to room temperature. Run a knife around the outside of the cake and then carefully tip the cake out onto your hand so you can return the cake right side up on a plate.
This cake is perfect alongside some coffee. In fact this is one of my favorite breakfasts. All I need is a strong cup of coffee and a nice sweet slice of cake. Of course this is also good for dessert. Yes, there is the issue of those pesky little blackberry seeds but I’ve decided since they carry some healthy stuff inside their little shells I’m just fine with them. If it turns out to be just too much for you, don’t forget there are numerous other fruits and berries out there you can use for your next buckle cake.
How do I feel about this cake? I still don’t know. I know I’ve had four slices in 36 hours, so that’s got to mean something. Right?