Blackberry Almond Cake

Summer is in the air, like 90 degrees in the air. I’d like to tell you this post is about me trying out creative recipes that don’t require baking in an oven. But, alas, I’m a sucker for freshly baked goodies. . . even in the hottest of summer months. . . in an apartment with no A/C. So with windows open, the whispers of a breeze flowing in, and the steady whir of fans in the background, I set out to bake this Blackberry Almond Cake.

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I love this recipe for a couple of reasons:

  1. Incredibly approachable ingredients. This moist cake only calls for eleven items; the majority of which are are probably already in your kitchen.
  2. Prep time is a breeze. There’s no waiting, sifting, or rising involved with this cake; simply mix the ingredients, pour into a pan, and then pop it into the oven. What’s not to love about that?
  3. Berries. Berries. Berries. This cake will be amazing with any berry of your choosing; I opted for blackberries like the original recipe called for, but you can easily adjust depending on what’s in season or your personal preference. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, a berry medley …. need I go on?

The sweetness of this cake is subtle, which makes it perfect for breakfast (or really any time of day). The flavor ride starts with the spongy, moist cake slowly melting in your mouth and continues on to bursts of fresh, juicy berries, and gems of crystallized sugar. Finally, there’s the crunch of perfectly toasted almonds that adorn the top. My mouth is already watering…

For the complete recipe, head over to Seasons & Suppers.

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Triple Berry Scones

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is curl up with a good book, a cup of coffee, and a freshly baked pastry. Okay, to be fair, it’s usually multiple cups of coffee and more than one pastry, but I do stick with one book. It had been a while since I was able to indulge in this relaxing pastime, and I was experiencing serious cravings for a scone. Luckily, my weekend schedule was pretty light and the weather outside was overcast and rainy. It was the ideal time to commit to staying in and testing out a new scone recipe.

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I’ve only dabbled with making scones a few times in the past, and they sadly produced less than stellar results. This was is it though. I could feel it. Today was going to be the day I conquered the scone.

To me, the perfect scone, is soft and slightly crumbly on the inside, yet firm and crisp on the outside. Extra points go to the ones that are dusted in crystallized sugar. And, of course, berries. ALL the berries.

As I set off to make these scones (recipe via Pretty. Simple. Sweet), I was having a hard time picking just one type of berry to use. So naturally, I decided to use all of them. The mix I chose included blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. You can find frozen mixed berries at your local grocery store or, if you prefer, you can opt to use a single type of berry.

Pretty. Simple. Sweet’s recipe delivers on exactly the kind of scone I was craving. The use of heavy cream in the dough produces a pastry that is rich yet balanced. The extra sugar on top adds sweetness which is cut by the zest of the lemon and the juice of the berries.

I have a feeling this recipe will be getting a lot of use in my kitchen…

All-the-Berries-Berry Pie

Some days just call for pie. They really do.

The morning was slightly overcast, and Mother Nature was starting to hint that fall is coming. So naturally with the grey clouds and cooler temperatures, I woke up craving pie. What, that’s never happened to you? Well, morning pie cravings happen to me more than I’d like to admit, but rarely do I give in to them. This time, however, I couldn’t resist. It was just one of those days that called for pie. I wanted the comfort of flaky crust, sweet berries, and fluffy whipped cream paired with a warm cup of coffee while I curled up in my reading chair. Now you see where I’m going with this. Sounds pretty good, right? I know. That’s why I made pie.

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You may have heard of berry pie or even a triple berry pie, but get ready, this pie has ALL the berries in it. Okay, not literally all of them, but it does have four different types: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. It’s like one big berry dance party in your mouth.

And for the crust, oh man, this recipe delivers 100% flaky, buttery, golden goodness. I’m a pretty harsh critic when it comes to crust, but will definitely bookmark this to use for future pie endeavors.

Finally, top your pie with homemade whipped cream and voila, pie perfection. Enjoy!Pie_good

Pie Crust
2 and ½ cups all purpose flour
1 and ¼ teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed
¾ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
½ – ⅔ cups ice water
1 egg, beaten (for brushing the crust)

Berry Filling
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
2 cups strawberries, halved (fresh or frozen)
2 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen, I used frozen blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Directions
Begin by preparing your pie dough at least 1 hour before you plan on baking your pie; the dough needs time to chill. You can find step by step instructions here at Sally’s Baking Addiction.

After the dough has chilled for nearly an hour, you can prepare the filling. To make the berry filling, first mix sugar and cornstarch together in a medium bowl; set aside 1 tablespoon of this mixture (it will later be sprinkled on the pie dough). Next, add in berries and cinnamon then stir until well combined. Let the berry mixture sit for 10-15 minutes.

While the berry mixture rests, preheat the oven to 375ºF and then roll out your pie dough. Remove one of the dough disks from the fridge and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to form a 12-inch circle (mine was a little closer to 14-inches; just make sure the rolled dough will cover the bottom and sides of the pan. You will want a little bit of excess hanging over the sides which will be helpful when connecting the lattice pieces). To easily transfer the dough to the bottom of the pie pan, roll the dough around the rolling pin and then unroll into the pie pan. Once transferred, gently press the dough into the corners of the pan. Next sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch and sugar on top of the rolled out dough; this will help prevent the bottom of the pie from becoming soggy. Next pour berry filling into pie pan. Finish your pie by rolling out the second dough disk into a 12-14 inch circle and then cut into 1 inch strips to be used as the lattice. For further detailed instructions on preparing your lattice top, you can check out this overview.

Once you’ve finished your lattice, brush the dough with egg and then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes until edges are golden brown, then cover edges with foil and continue baking for an additional 20-30 minutes until the center is bubbly and has thickened.

To make the whipped cream, add the heavy whipping cream to a chilled mixing bowl. Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks are about to form then add in sugar and vanilla. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form; be careful not to over-whip or the cream will become too thick and lumpy.