This buttermilk cake recipe, originally from Smitten Kitchen, is probably the most requested thing that I bake. It comes together incredibly quickly and is as satisfying for dessert at a summer barbecue as it is for breakfast the next morning. It can be dressed up with a dollop of whip cream, but it's also the perfect snacking cake if you're just looking for a small bite of something sweet.
I've made just a few changes to the original recipe as written by Deb Perlman. I add a touch more vanilla, the zest of a whole lemon, and increased the amount of salt. If you happen to have an orange on hand when making this cake, I suggest you add a little orange zest to the batter as well, it gives the citrusy note even more depth. The original recipe calls for raspberries, but I've had success using blueberries, blackberries, pitted cherries, and strawberries as well. Just grab whatever is fresh at your grocery store or bodega and in the end you'll have a wonderfully light cake with jammy puddles of summer fruit. This recipe can also easily be doubled if you're looking to serve a larger crowd!
Once you've made this cake you'll understand why it's so often requested! It's satisfying, quick, and the zip of citrus paired with tart berries pairs perfectly with summer staples like barbecue, hotdogs, or grilled vegetables. Just be warned that if you bring this to a party, you're going to get requests for seconds!
Blueberry Buttermilk Cake
Makes one thin 9-inch cake
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (56 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (146 grams) plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon
1 large (57 grams) egg
1/2 cup (118 ml) well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup (5 ounces or 140 grams) fresh berries of your choosing
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup (146 grams) sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla and zest. Add egg and beat well.
At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined. Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter your fruit evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) sugar.
Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.