Mary Beth Johnson is a wife and mum to four schooners, as she’s dubbed her children. On a normal afternoon, you would find her in moccasins, skinny jeans and a comfortable tee, camera in hand. Recently moving to the suburbs of Atlanta, Mary Beth spends her days homeschooling, sneaking away to the bookstore, trying to act the part of a southerner, and sifting through recipes in The Vegetarian Times. Food is her love language.
Blackberry picking feels like a rite of passage into summer. Every year, no matter where we find ourselves living, we scope out a wild patch and pick to our hearts’ content. The thorns are brambly and the kids never last long, but I could stay out for hours carefully weeding my way through branches to reach the tender fruit. Working for your reward always makes the results that much sweeter.
There are a host of things you can do with a pile of wild, sour blackberries. We make cobbler no less than once a week in the summer, but this time I wanted to try something a little less sweet to go with my afternoon coffee. I found a Polish recipe and painstakingly translated it. (Completely worth it.) And then, of course, the kids had it for breakfast the next morning with milk. It is not overly sweet, but more like a dense coffee cake with bursts of fruit. To keep my cakes from losing moisture, I take them out of the pan as soon as I can without getting burned, then wrap them with plastic wrap and pop in the freezer for a bit. This “seals” the moisture into the cake.
//BLACKBERRY CRUMBLE CAKE
7 tablespoons butter, softened
3 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups fresh blackberries
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
a few drops of vanilla or almond extract
powdered sugar, for dusting
heavy cream with a dash of sugar or maple syrup for sweetener
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper, grease with a smattering of butter, and set aside.
Whip the 7 tablespoons of butter in mixing bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add in eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Add yogurt and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda. Add to the whipped butter mixture and stir until well incorporated. Batter will be thick. Carefully fold in the fresh blackberries and pour into prepared cake pan.
In a separate bowl, use your fingers to incorporate the crumble ingredients – butter, flour, sugar, and a few drops of vanilla or almond extract. Mix till the ingredients begin to stick and form a pebbly crumble. Sprinkle mixture onto cake batter and bake for 1 hour, or till toothpick inserted comes out clean. If it begins to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil for the duration of cook time.
Serve with powdered sugar and whipped heavy cream/maple syrup.