IT’S BERRY GOOD
Plump sun-ripened blackberries bring home sweet (and tasty) memories.
Whether stepping into the garden to pluck tender greens and fragrant herbs at first light or strolling down a country lane with a basket in hand to gather wild edibles in the sun’s waning hours, the sweetest childhood memories are invariably of summer. There’s something inherent in the sunshine’s warmth that nudges us to shirk our everyday commitments and opt for stolen moments sipping fruit-flavored tea on a porch swing or an impromptu picnic on the grass under a sprawling shade tree.
Picking glossy red and purple berries is a ritual that appeals to young and old alike. Whether savored by the handful from bush to belly, strewn over a dish of homemade granola or topping a still-warm-from-the-oven cake, juicy blackberries are at their succulent best when days and nights are of almost equal length.
The knowledge of how short berry season is and how fearless one must be to brave the thorny canes makes the bounty taste all the sweeter!
INSTRUCTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 350° F. 2. Line the bottom of a buttered 9 x 2- inch round cake pan with a piece of wax paper. Butter the wax paper. 3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 4. Beat the butter and cane juice together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, and then beat in the vanilla extract. 5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer set on low speed, add the buttermilk until it just begins to combine with the butter, cane juice and egg mixture ( do not overmix). Add the flour in three batches, mixing after each addition, until gently combined ( do not overmix). 6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top carefully. Set the pan on the middle rack of the oven, and bake until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40– 50 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. When cool, run a knife around the edge and slide the cake onto a serving plate. 7. Make the topping. Bring the wine, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and the grapefruit zest to a boil in a small pan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil until the syrup is reduced to about ¼ cup. 8. Reserve 2 tablespoons of syrup, and pour the remainder slowly and evenly over the cake. Stir together the rest of the syrup, preserves, and remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar in a small pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Arrange the berries on the cake, and pour the syrup over. Serve warm. Garnish with buttermilk and whipped cream ( optional).