When I was young, my mother and I would go blackberry picking in McDade, Texas.
We always went to the same farm, which was owned by a very small old woman who had puffy white hair.
We would get there in the morning, wearing old clothes and wide-brimmed hats.
My mother always wore gloves, because she has beautiful hands, and blackberry bushes are very thorny.
We would pick blackberries for hours.
It was hard work. Because the thorns tore up our hands, and because there were fire ants.
We always got stung by fire ants.
It was fun though: my brothers and I would run between the bushes
and eat berries until we felt sick and dig in dusty red dirt that coated our skin.
Whenever I think back though, I forget about the fire ants and the dirt and the thorns.
Instead, I remember that when we drove home, after a day in McDade,
in the trunk of the car, all of my mother's pots and pans
were filled with
It made me feel plenty.
It's many years later now.
These past months have been difficult, what with school and all the uncertainty and ache that I guess comes with being
But it doesn't matter anymore. Like the thorns and ants and dirt didn't matter.
Summer is here now.
And I feel plenty.
And life feels like blackberries.
Life is all blackberries.
Blackberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake
SmittenKitchen suggested making this with a variety of berries. But I love blackberries. So there ya go. I've included her recipe for glaze, which sounds amazing, but which I was too lazy to make.
This entire cake was eaten in under 24 hours. I kid you not.
2 1/2 cups (355 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (20 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
1 cup (8 ounces or 225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (340 grams) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk
3 cups (350 to 450 grams) mixed berries
2 cups (240 grams) powdered or confections’ sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, very, very soft
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 10-cup Bundt pan, either with butter or a nonstick spray.* Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk or sift 2 1/2 cups flour (leaving 2 tablespoons back), baking powder and salt together and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and impossibly fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Then, with the mixer on a low speed, add your eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition. Beat in vanilla, briefly. Add 1/3 flour mixture to batter, beating until just combined, followed by half the buttermilk, another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk and remaining flour mixture. Scrape down from time to time and don’t mix any more than you need to. In the bowl where you’d mixed your dry ingredients, toss the berries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. With a silicon spatula, gently fold the berries into the cake batter. The batter will be very thick and this will seem impossible without squishing the berries a little, but just do your best and remember that squished berries do indeed make for a pretty batter.
Spread cake batter — you might find it easier to plop it in the pan in large spoonfuls, because it’s so thick — in the prepared baking pan and spread the top smooth. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, rotating the cake 180 degrees after 30 (to make sure it browns evenly). The cake is done as soon as a tester comes out clean of batter. At 10 minutes before my baking time was up, a tester was totally wet with batter and I wascertain it would never be done in the estimated time. 7 minutes later, the same tester was clean as a whistle, so fret not.
Set cake pan on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes, before inverting the cake onto a serving platter to cool the rest of the way. Cool completely. Once cool, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and butter until smooth and very, very thick. (If you’d like it thinner, add more juice, but I like the thick drippiness of it, seen above.) Spread carefully over top of cake, letting it trickle down the sides when and where it wishes. Serve at once or keep it covered at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.