Blackberry Buttermilk Cake - Bon Appetit

I received this month's copy of Bon Appetit in the mail the other day and it had a "berry" section.  Not surprising with this being June and all.  We here in the Northeast only have a short season for berries and since it's nearing July, well look at this gorgeous bunch in this picture.  How could I resist? 

This cake called out to me because it's almost like an upside down cake as you lay all blackberries in the bottom of a springform pan and sprinkle with sugar.  Then you add your batter on top and bake.

The baking time calls for an hour and a half.  My cake was done in an hour and ten minutes, so if you choose to make this beautiful and delicious cake, check it after an hour.  I read a couple of the reviews and most said theirs was done early as well.  I used a 9 inch springform pan, but it says you can use either a 9 or a 10 inch one.  The reviews said, if using a 10 inch springform, check the cake after 50 minutes. 

Here is the Blackberry Buttermilk Cake right from the oven.

And here it sits cooling in my window.

Dusted with a bit of confectioner's sugar.

Getting a bit closer.

This cake is very light and moist, along with being quite delicious.  I most liked how easy it is to make too.

Bon Appetit ~

Here's the recipe for Blackberry Buttermilk Cake ~


  • 3/4cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan and parchment
  • 2 1/3cups cake flour (sifted, then measured) plus more for pan
  • 2 1/2cups(10 ounces) fresh blackberries
  • 1/4cup plus 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4teaspoon salt
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
  • 3large eggs, room temperature
  • 2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)

  • special equipment:

    Use a 9"-10"-diameter springform pan


  • Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Butter pan; line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter parchment. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Arrange berries in a single layer in bottom of pan; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup sugar.
  • Sift 2 1/3 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup butter and remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar in a large bowl at medium-high speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and zest. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until incorporated. Pour batter over berries in pan; smooth top.
  • Bake until cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 25 minutes*. Let cool in pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then run a thin, sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen. Remove pan sides. Invert cake onto rack and remove pan bottom; peel off parchment. Dust top generously with powdered sugar and let cool completely.
  • *In the reviews I read, this time is is too long.  Check cake at the 1 hour point.  My cake was nearly over done at 1 hr. and 10 minutes.


Hazelnut Tiramisu ~

This picture isn't great, but the taste is beyond spectacular.  I've had tiramisu before, but this Hazelnut version is excellent.  It's also fairly easy and who doesn't like a make ahead dessert.  This really needs to be done overnight, to let all of the flavors blend well.

I got this recipe from The Essex Inn in Burlington, Vermont, where I met up with friends for a Spa weekend.  The class was "Cooking with Vermont Cheese", and all of the recipes were wonderful and fun to make.

Here's the recipe, adapted a bit:

1/3 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar, set aside1/4 cup
1/2 cup espresso or strong coffee (I used strong coffee)
1/4 cup dark rum, or hazelnut liquor (I used dark rum)
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temprerature
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup roasted and skinned hazelnuts, ground
7 oz package of hard ladyfingers
1 tsp. good vanilla extract

1. Combine the water and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and remove from heat.  Add coffee and stir in rum.  Set aside.

2.  In a large mixing bowl (I used my KA for this part), beat mascarpone, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla, until well blended.  Add heavy cream and hazelnuts, continue to beat until mixture is thick and fluffy.

3.  In a 8 x 8 glass pyrex dish, place ladyfingers.  You will have to break some of the ladyfingers to make them lay flat.  Don't overlap them.  Ladle generously with about half of the cooled syrup.  Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over soaked ladyfingers.  Top cream with the other half of the ladyfingers and ladle more syrup.  Spread remaining cream over top.  Smooth with an offset spatular.  Cover with plastic wrap and place overnight in refrigerator.  Right before serving, dust with cocoa powder and shaved dark chocolate.  Served chilled.

Here's a better picture, of a piece I served.

Yum ~


My updated Meatball Sub ~

Up here in the Northeast part of the Country, we call certain sandwiches "submarine" or "sub" for short.  I suppose it's because of the torpedo shaped bread/roll we use.  Basically, it's just a sandwhich with a lot of filling on a crusty roll.  A meatball sub is meatballs, some sauce and melted mozzarella cheese.  Some people put parmesan cheese on as well.

I haven't had one in eons, mostly because they are very messy and hugely filling, overstuffed with big meatballs.  Way too much for me to enjoy these days.  I light lighter lunches, so this is my revised version.  If you need  the recipe  for meatballs or sauce, it's in one of my previous posts, or just use your own. 

What I did to lighten it up and make it better (well, easier to eat anyway), was a couple of things.  First, I hollowed out most of the bread on the top half.  And I sliced the meatballs.  This works great, no meatballs sliding out of the bread.  Who needs upteen meatballs in one sandwich anyway?  And the bread has a really nice crunch to it this way.

After you hollow out the bread, place it under for broiler on both sides for a couple of minutes.  Remove and place sliced meatballs on the bottom half of the bread, with a little sauce.  Add some shaved mozzarella and place on a cookie sheet back under the broiler to melt the cheese.  When the cheese is nicely melted, add some julienned basil on top and voila, a delicious and easy lunch.  With a lot less mess, but not less yummy....

So whether you call it a Hoagie, Sub, Hero or Spuckie, it's still a great lunch ~


Plum Galette - from Everyday Living/Cooking ~

Everyone knows about that little magazine, Everyday Living I believe.  It's brought to us by Martha Stewart and her team.  Over the years, I have found some wonderful recipes in it.  This is one of them.  I always brush the top of my fruit pies/tarts/galettes with a few teaspoons of apricot preserves.  To me, it makes them look like they come from a pastry shop window....

This tart is easy to make, really.  Don't let the picture intimidate you. And so delicious too.  I have even cheated and used a store bought rolled pie crust, found in your grocer's refrigerator section.
Trust me, no one will notice....

Here it is ready for the oven:

Plum Galette

Just out of the oven and I heated a little apricot preserves with 1 teaspoon of water and brushed it on top while the galette was still warm.

Be sure to let this galette cool a bit and serve with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream too ~


Bacon and Leek Quiche (or Tart)

In the 70's this was called a quiche, but now most chef's call it a savory tart.

Whatever you choose to call it, it's good.  Especially with leeks and bacon.  How could it not?  I tweaked the recipe a bit, mixed up the cheeses a bit.  I used some cheddar, mozzarella and goat cheese.   I am sure whatever cheese you choose, it will be tasty.  And I had a store bought pastry crust in my fridge, so it was even easier.  I did blind bake my pie crust for 10 minutes in a 400 F. degree oven too.  I just like a crispy crust better.

Here's the recipe:


Serves: 6-8,

  • 1 9 inch deep dish pie shell, unbaked and chilled
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 3 leeks, cleaned and sliced thinly (I use the white and about 1 to 1-1/2 inch of the green)
  • 3 whole eggs, plus
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup Italian cheese blend (I use Sargento's)
  • 1/4 teaspoon driedherbes de provence or 1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg, if you don't have fresh,skip it


Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
  1.  Cook bacon until crisp, but do not over cook.
  2.  Set aside to drain.
  3.  Drain off fat from pan, leaving just a light coating in the pan.
  4.  Add the sliced leeks, and cook over medium until wilted and limp, but do not brown.
  5.  Set aside to cool.
  6.  Preheat oven to 350.
  7.  Brush pie crust with the beaten egg white.
  8.  Finely chop the bacon and sprinkle evenly over the bottom of the pie crust.
  9.  Sprinkle the leeks evenly over the bacon.
  10.  Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the leeks.
  11.  Beat the whole eggs, egg yolk, cream, half and half, herbs and nutmeg until well mixed,    slightly thick and a lemon color.
  12.  Slowly pour over the bacon, leek and cheese mixture.
  13.  Smush down the cheese that floats to the top to coat with the egg mixture.
  14.  It will settle down while baking.
  15.  Sprinkle the top with paprika for a little extra color, if you like. (optional)
  16.  Bake at 350 for about 35 min, or until knife inserted off center comes out clean.
  17.  Let set 30 minutes before cutting.
  18.  This can be served warm, room temperature or cold.
  19.  I have made this for vegetarians without the bacon, and it is still quite good.

It was delicious with the fresh strawberries that are now in Season at my farmstand too!

And it tastes as good as it looks.  Yum


    Poppies in the rain and dinner ~

    Today in the rain, I decided to catch the last glimpse of the poppies for the year.  My friend has them growing in her yard and they are glorious, red and lucious.  I snapped a couple of pictures and then we made dinner. 

    It was gloomy, so I just wanted to shoot the flowers, not the landscape.  And the raindrops just glistened off of the petals too.  Just beautiful, my favorite flower.

    The center is just as purple as an eggplant, stunning.....

    It's hard to say good-bye to these beauties for another year, but we must...  Glorious poppy, good-bye for now.

    Then onto to dinner, we made pizza of course.  Had a great day, even with all of the rain ~

    Yum ~

    Peachy Chicken Thighs ~

    Oh yes, another chicken recipe.  I know, I know.... But, I really do like chicken thighs and easy recipes, so I played around and came up with this dish.  And I wanted something "summery", and peaches are just that.  Although in this recipe I used peach (all fruit) preserves, peeled, chopped peaches would work just fine I think.

    6-8 bone in, chicken thighs (fat trimmed)
    1/2 cup white wine
    1/2 cup peach preserve
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 T. fish sauce
    3 T. olive oil
    1 T. kosher salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1-2 T. fresh rosemary, rough chop

    Prepare chicken:
    Add chicken, rosemary, salt, pepper and 1 T. olive oil in a large bowl, stir to combine.

    In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat.  Add 1/2 chicken thighs, skin side down and brown for about 2-3 minutes.  Turn chicken, and cook for an additional 2 minutes, remove chicken to a plate, set aside.  Repeat with the second half of the chicken pieces.  I do it in batches so the skin gets nice and golden brown.  Remove second batch of chicken to plate and set aside.  Take skillet off of heat and add garlic.  Stir and let garlic get golden, watching that it doesn't burn.  Place skillet back onto burner on medium heat, add wine, stir to deglaze.  Add peach preserve and stir.  Add chicken back into skillet, turn to low, cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Turn off stove and add the fish sauce.  Stir to combine.  Serve over rice and a bed of red leaf lettuce.  Or just julienne the lettuce like I did this time.  Yum ~


    My Summer Pasta Salad ~

    I love summer cooking, it's easy, it's simple, it's light and the fresh produce is abundant.  And I love good pasta salad, the ingredients are endless.  You can put anything your heart desires in pasta salad and it's great to make on the weekend and keep for a few days in the fridge, for those times when it's just to darn hot to cook.

    A couple of tips that I have found in my search, "don't" overcook the pasta.  I even undercook it a bit, the dressing will make the pasta softer by the next day.  Another thing, "don't" overload the dressing.  "Less is better", where the dressing is concerned.   I finally came up with this dish, it's really tasty and can either be a side dish, or a one dish meal. 

    My Summer Pasta Salad ~

     3/4 lb of Barilla Cellatani (doubled elbows)
    4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
    1 whole red pepper, finely chopped
    1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
    2 ears of fresh steamed corn, shucked
    6 slices of bacon, cooked and cut into 1/2 " pieces
    1/4 lb. good kalamata (pitted), from the olive bar, halved

    For the dressing:
    1/2 cup mayo
    1 tablespoon dijon mustard
    1/4 cup sour cream
    1/2 jalapeno pepper, very finely mincd
    Mix well and set aside.

    Fill a large stock pot with water, bring to a boil and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Cook Cellatani for 9 minutes.  If you are using another kind of pasta, just undercook it by 1 minute.  Drain, and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.

    In a very large bowl, add red peppers, onion, celery, corn, bacon and black olives.  Pour in pasta and add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  Mix to combine.
    Add dressing and mix together well.  Allow pasta salad to sit in the refrigerator  for a few hours or overnight.

    To serve, mix well and adjust the seasonings.  Also, if pasta appears dry, add a tablespoon of milk or cream.  Do not add any extra mayonnaise or sour cream.

    I like to serve it just the way it is, over red leaf lettuce.  Simple, yet delicious.


    Potato, Goat Cheese and Rosemary Pizza ~

    I have been wanting to try this pizza ever since I saw a picture on Jim Lahey's site for Pizza Patate.  While reading (ogling), Tastespotting recently, I loosely based my recipe on The Italian Dish Blog.  Her blog is gorgeous, I just love it.

    But I wanted to add cheese to mine, because I can't imagine any pizza not having cheese.  And decided to add goat cheese.  I also added minced garlic to the olive oil spread on the dough.  It's just a habit I have with pizza, garlic and olive oil.  I love the stuff.

    When I make this pizza again, I'll add a milder cheese instead.  And I'll remember to sprinkle good parmesan cheese before it goes in the oven.  It's still a darn good pizza, whichever way you slice it!

    Potato, Goat Cheese and Rosemary Pizza

    1 lb. store bought pizza dough (thawed)
    3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
    2 medium yukon gold potatoes
    1 large clove of garlic, minced
    2 T. fresh rosemary, chopped
    5 T. olive oil, divided
    1 salt
    1 tsp. black pepper

    With a mandoline, cut potatoes to 1/16".  Sprinkle with the salt and place in a bowl, cover with cold water.  Set aside for 1 hour.

    In a small bowl, place minced garlic and 3 T. of olive oil.

    Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

    When potatoes are ready, sqeeze potatoes dry with towels, either paper or kitchen.  In a large bowl, place potatoes, rosemary, salt and pepper, toss 2 T.with olive oil.

    Sprinkle 1 T. cornmeal in a half sheet pan, set aside.

    Stretch or roll out dough, until it's almost as large as your half sheet pan.  Spread the oil/garlic mixture on top of dough.  Take potato mixture and spread all over the top of the pizza, pretty evenly.  Sprinkle goat cheese on top of potatoes.

    Don't worry that potatoes go over the edge of the crust, they are just fine this way.

    Pizza is ready for the oven.  Place on top rack in your oven for 8 minutes.  Turn pizza and check crust, place back in bottom rack of oven for 4 more minutes.  Check for golden brown edges, and cooked crust underneath.  Pizza may take another minute or two.

    Remove from oven:

    Slice and enjoy ~