Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Blackberry and Thyme Buttermilk Cake

Recently I found a recipe for Blackberry Thyme Clafoutis by Tim Love in InStyle magazine (who knew they had recipes) that caught my eye.  The combination of blackberry and thyme sounded intriguing, plus the dessert is baked in on of my absolute favorite things - my cast-iron skillet.  So I started to make it and then realized that we didn't have any whole milk.  And the clafoutis is something of a custardy or puddingy cake, and I wasn't sure how we would feel about that as a leftover.  So instead of making the clafoutis like I had intended, I decided to take Tim Love's flavors (namely the combination of the blackberries and thyme, served with vanilla ice cream) and instead modify the Raspberry Buttermilk Cake recipe I love so much to use those ingredients.  For those of you who have whole milk or are making dessert for a blackberry-loving dinner party, I am also including the recipe for the Blackberry-Thyme Clafoutis that first caught my eye.

I love this cake.  Alex was slightly less of a fan, but I loved the faint hint of thyme flavor combined with the lightly sweet, very moist cake.  I will agree with him that the blackberries weren't very sweet, which made some bites very tart, but I thought that combined with the vanilla ice cream it was perfectly lovely.

Recipe after the jump!

Blackberry and Thyme Buttermilk Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup, plus 2 tbsp sugar, divided
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh blackberries (or other berries - this recipe also works well with black berries)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with rack in middle.  Butter and flour a 9 inch round cake pan (I used a springform pan).

Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt).  Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar in a stand mixer at medium-high speed, until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla.  Add egg and beat well.  Add thyme.  Mix well.  At low speed, mix in dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour.  Mix until just combined.  Spoon batter into cake pan, tapping pan on counter to smooth batter.  Sprinkle blackberries with 1 tbsp sugar and stir berries to coat.  Scatter berries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp sugar.  Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, approximately 25-30 minutes.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out on cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes.

Dust with powdered sugar (optional - I was too lazy to do it this time) and slice.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Blackberry Thyme Clafoutis
Available in InStyle
June 2010
By Tim Love

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
4 tbsp granulated sugar, separated
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp unsalted butter
12 oz. fresh blackberries, washed and patted dry
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  In a food processor, combine flour, salt, eggs, 2 tbsp sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.  Mix until batter is smooth, about 1 minute.  Set aside.

In a 9-inch heavy cast-iron skillet, melt butter of medium heat, making sure to coat the bottom and sides of the pan.  Add blackberries and thyme.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until blackberries soften slightly and are coated with butter, about 2-3 minutes.  Sprinkle blackberries with remaining 2 tbsp sugar.  Cook until sugar dissolves and turns syrupy, about 1-2 minutes.  Pour prepared batter over blackberries.  Bake clafoutis until it turns golden brown, about 20 minutes (similar to a souffle, do not open the oven door to peak or your clafoutis might collapse).

Dust with powdered sugar.  Slice and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream, or homemade whipped cream.

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