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Recipe

Berry Buttermilk Cake with Vanilla-Scented Crème Fraîche

Ben Fink

Servings: 12-16

Any leftovers make a great breakfast treat for houseguests.

Ingredients

For the crumb topping:

  • 2-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 oz. (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, chilled

For the cake:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, raspberries, or a mix
  • 13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pan and for the berries
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature; more for the pan
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk

For the vanilla crème fraîche:

  • 1 lb. (2 cups) crème fraîche
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar

Nutritional Information

      Nutritional Sample Size based on 16 servings
      Calories (kcal) : 355
      Fat Calories (kcal): 138
      Fat (g): 16
      Saturated Fat (g): 10
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3
      Cholesterol (mg): 77
      Sodium (mg): 295
      Carbohydrates (g): 48
      Fiber (g): 1
      Protein (g): 5

Preparation

Make the crumb topping:

  • Mix the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into chunks and add to the dry mixture. Rub the flour and butter between your fingers until the mixture just comes together and has a nice crumbly texture. (This topping can be made ahead and stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.)

Make the cake:

  • Rinse the berries well in a colander under running water and spread on paper towels. Let the berries air-dry for at least 15 min. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand-held electric mixer, whip the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 min. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well for 15 seconds after each addition. Scrape the bowl, add the vanilla, and continue whipping until the mixture is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 min. On low speed, add the dry ingredients one-third at a time, alternating with the buttermilk 1/2 cup at a time. After the last addition of buttermilk, scrape the bowl, increase the speed to medium and beat for about 15 seconds to mix the batter fully.
  • Transfer the berries to a medium bowl and toss gently with 2 tsp. flour. Gently fold the berries into the cake batter with a rubber spatula to avoid crushing the berries too much. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan with the spatula, level the batter, and sprinkle with the crumb topping.
  • Bake until a toothpick or wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake, 45 to 55 min. Let the cake rest for 10 min. before turning it out onto a rack. Flip the cake back over so that the crumb topping is on top. Let cool completely and wrap tightly. Store at room temperature overnight before slicing.

Make the vanilla crème fraîche:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or with a hand-held electric mixer, whip the crème fraîche, vanilla extract, and sugar until soft peaks form, about 2 min. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve:

  • Slice the cake and serve each slice with a dollop of the crème fraîche.

Make Ahead Tips

For the best flavor, make both the cake and its topping one day in advance.

Reviews

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Reviews

  • cheshirecatmom | 07/01/2014

    There's just no doubt about it. When you follow the recipe (as written!) the cake is a keeper. I've made it many times. I'm always looking for a recipe where I can use up extra buttermilk, and it's been wonderful every time.

  • taunton2 | 02/26/2014

    Ive made this recipe many, many times since it first came out. The first was the most successful when I was short of baking powder and only used 3t instead of the recipes 4t. Subsequent cakes made with 4t all fell somewhat; one fell quite dramatically. A little research on ratios of cake ingredients revealed why: typical ratios of baking powder to flour are 1 to 1 1/2 t per cup of flour. This cake falls just within that range BUT also has the leavening of the baking soda which is 1/4t per cup of flour. This has 1t soda for 3 cups. It has lots of leavening, which is not always a good thing if the cake structure cant support it. So I now make it with only the 3t of baking powder and it works beautifully. Id give it 4 stars (5 stars is for truly over the top recipes in my book), but because of the challenges Ive had with it, just 3. Nonetheless, its one of my favorite Bundt style cakes.

  • Lilia37 | 09/29/2013

    OK, so I made a few changes, but I'm posting a review anyway because I think it's possible others might wonder about it and so I can report back with how it worked. First, I was looking for a loaf recipe because I wanted to be able to freeze some of it and not have a big cake hanging around. I used 2 loaf pans...it was slightly too much batter, but nothing bubbled out of the pans, so it worked OK. Second, I had some peaches I wanted to use up, so I used peaches (diced, not peeled) and raspberries as the berries. I didn't fuss to much with drying them or tossing in flour, and nothing sunk. I'm giving it only 4-stars because I also tried the same technique with The Blueberry Muffin Cake (also a Fine Cooking recipe -- search the data base if interested) and I preferred the taste of that one. This one is tasty and worth making, but I mildly preferred the other one so I'd probably go to that one in the future. I found this one a little less sweet, so I preferred the sweeter (but not too sweet) taste of the other one.

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