I came across this recipe the other day when I was looking up the recipe for apricot-lacquered wings in Gourmet. It's sitting right across the page from the wings, looking completely oblivious to its own awesomeness potential and almost expecting to be ignored, kind of like the geeky wallflower with coke-bottle glasses and full dental headgear you went to high school with who blossomed into a complete knockout by college. You know the type- plain and forgettable, until you really get to know her; once you do, you'll wonder why it took you so long to do so. That's how this cake is: it looks like something that could easily turn into comfort food, like a glorified pancake, but it has spunk and panache.
Though I used blueberries this time, this is a great basic recipe to use as a springboard for several different variations. I'll probably use raspberries next, but I can see cherries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, plums, peaches, and many other additions in the near future.
Blueberry Buttermilk Cake
1 cup AP flour 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. salt 4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened 2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar, divided 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1 large egg 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter and flour a 9" round cake pan. 2. Whisk together dry ingredients. 3. Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well. 4. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour and mixing until just combined. 5. Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter berries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining sugar. 6. Bake until cake is golden and a wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn on a rack and cool until warm, 10-15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.