This weekend I purchased fresh local berries from an insanely popular berry farm that had cars lined up down the driveway and onto the street. Somehow, magically, the checkout line was short so I was able to park in the drop-off area and run in.
Local berry farms are insane places to go in the summer—especially on the weekend.
The reason I braved it, though, was two-fold. The first fold, as it were, was a family barbecue that I brought dessert to. The second fold was this recipe. Summer berry and nut cake can only be made in the summer, and it would be best made with fresh local berries instead of imported ones that are subpar.
The recipe technically also calls for blackberries, but I only went with raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Maybe that makes it more of a triple berry situation rather than a summer berry situation.
At work today, I told my coworkers that I would bring baking tomorrow for a meeting, which means I kind of painted myself into a corner tonight. I got home from two different grocery stores and wondered where I’d find my energy to do this.
But alas, I told myself I’d do this. And I had to use up these berries before they went to mush. And the required amount of marzipan for this recipe was nearly the exact same amount I still had leftover from a previous bake.
I mean it’s kismet, right? That means I have to bake it tonight? I mean I did—spoiler alert—because I’m currently writing this after I put it in the oven.
Time to make the topping. Yes, there’s a topping.
Marzipan, chilled butter, plain flour, muscovado sugar, ground cinnamon and walnut pieces. Ground until the “mixture looks like gravel,” but “before the mix starts to come together to form a paste.”
Where do I set it aside, you may ask? Where do I set aside something in this tiny kitchen with the sink full of dishes and the dishwasher running and me already running out of bowls? My coffee table, of course.
Time to start the sponge.
My nemesis. My kryptonite. The black mark on my baking soul.
Time to start with a comically oversized bowl (as I mentioned, most of my bowls are either in the sink or the dishwasher).
Next up, mix the butter and sugar until fluffy.
So here’s the thing about this fluffiness. It’s fake. I mean it’s not fake. But it was not achieved with a hand mixer alone. The butter wasn’t softened as much as it should have been so this mixture was starting to look more like the gravel topping than the fluffy creamy mixture it should have been. So I had to use some old-school arm strength and whip it up with a wooden spoon before using the hand mixer again.
I just want to be completely honest with you guys.
Like how I’m even out of cereal bowls and had to use a liquid measuring cup for the eggs and vanilla.
That actually worked out, though, because it was a lot easier to pour the tablespoon-at-a-time thing from a container with a spout than from a massive bowl to a massive bowl.
And it seemed to have worked!
Time to sift. Now, here’s where things get interesting.
First of all, I’m so out of containers that I’ve had to use a Ziploc container instead of a bowl or a measuring cup or anything normal. Second of all, I ran out of all-purpose white flour. Oops! I improvised. One hundred grams of the required 250 grams of flour is actually cake flour. I mean this is a cake, right? How different is cake flour than plain flour? I mean it can’t be that big a deal right?
You tell me. I guess we’ll all find out tomorrow.
I also feel like you guys should know how much juggling is required when using a sifter and also opening a baking powder twist-top container, a brand-new baking soda container and a ground cinnamon jar.
Just know I’m awesome, okay?
(Or, you know, I put down the sifter and will have to clean up bits of flour off my counter. Whatever.)
Time to fold this baby!
Well, not a baby. A bunch of ingredients in a bowl.
Including some wrong ingredients, but who’s keeping track?
Mary and Paul tell me that it’s supposed to be “fairly stiff” so this seems about right. I would be worried if it was runny. Plus it makes sense that it’s stiff if the berries and topping are to go on top pre-bake.
But I’ll get to that later.
Now, please take a moment to sound the trumpets. Ladies and gentlemen and people, I would like to introduce to you *trumpet noise* my new round springclip tin!
Beautiful, isn’t she?
She was only $5 on clearance and didn’t pour out rust water like the dollar store springclip tin I bought (and subsequently threw out without using).
(Also aren’t they called springform pans? Britain is messing up my brain.)
Now, time to assemble like the Avengers.
First up, spoon the sponge mixture in.
Next up, evenly distribute the berries (and make sure not to pout them all in the middle—seriously, that’s part of the instruction).
Next up, the gravel topping.
I have to say, this bake is making me salivate a little and it’s not even done. The sponge mixture smelled incredible. The berries are so beautiful they should be art. And the topping has marzipan—what more could a girl want?
Now I wait.
I wait way too long.
Over an hour!
*half an hour later*
Okay, so I just need to explain to you people that this smells amazing. Truly amazing. I want to turn this scent into a candle.
*half an hour and a bit later*
Guys! It rose! The sponge rose!
Also can we just talk about how hard it is to tell if a cake like this is done? Normally you’d put a knife in and when it comes out clean, it’s done. But how do you know when you have to get through a layer of mushy berry filling? It’s never coming out clean. I didn’t see cake residue, so I’m hoping that means it’s done.
Time to let it cool before un-springing the springclip tin.
I sure hope it doesn’t have a soggy bottom.
*about 10 minutes later*
So I took off the springclip sides and peeled off the baking paper and a little bit of berry and topping was stuck to the paper, so I ate it. And my oh my was it delicious.
I almost don’t want to share this one.
I also did another test for a soggy bottom by poking a knife into the side of the sponge and it came out clean as a whistle. I think we’ll be okay, folks.
*a little while later*
I can’t wait, guys. I have to have some. It’s just cruel to have to wait until tomorrow.
Oh man. I really wish you readers could try this because dang. This will be made again. For sure. Probably several times this summer.
I wonder if I could have a second piece. No one has to know.
I took a second piece. Ssh! Don’t tell anyone!
*the next day*
UPDATE: It was a hit! And since it’s a larger cake, more people have been able to enjoy it. No disclaimers this time and, thankfully, there was no soggy bottom from sitting overnight.