Ryan Thomas is a university student who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
Blackberries grow like a weed in the Pacific Northwest, and in Humboldt County they proliferate to an extreme degree. While for most of the year the presence of their sharp thorns and choking expansionism can be aggravating, they have the great redemption of bearing bountiful harvests during Autumn, as berries ripen from green to red to purple and to black under the rays of a summer sun just beginning to relent before the advance of the seasons. It would be a shame not to take advantage of the charity that nature leaves at our doorsteps, and as a result, my desserts become increasingly filled with, cooked with, mixed with, and eaten with blackberries, their sweet presence making themselves felt throughout my dishes.
In this case, I had adapted a recipe (cherry sour cream cake) which had initially been focused as a recipe for sour cherries, and while keeping usage of the cherries, incorporated blackberries in an attempt to provide additional sweetness and take advantage of the generosity of nature. The resulting cake is an excellent mix of sweet and tangy, using sour cream, blackberries, and sour cherries to their fullest, with some walnuts to add on some extra texture.
The only true drawback with cooking desserts is the inevitable cost in calories, which I at least don't have a problem with, but is of great concern for my mother... for special occasions however, exceptions must be made!
I have adapted this recipe from that of Anna von Bremzen/John Welchman's Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook.
- 1 cup black berries (or sour cherries, well drained if from can)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- pinch salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 cups sour cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar, or more if desired
- 1/2 cup canned sour cherries, well drained if from can
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons cherry or strawberry liqueur
- Garnish of fresh or canned cherries/sour cherries/blackberries
- Garnish of walnut halves
- Pulse or blend the 1 cup of blackberries in a food processor or blender.
- Place the blackberries in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, eggs, 1 cup sugar, and beat together for 1 minute.
- Add the dry ingredients of 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, and salt, after sifting together. Fold into the cherry mixture and beat until well blended.
- Pre-heat oven to 375 and butter a 9-inch springform pan.
- Pour batter into pan and bake until a knife can be inserted into the cake and come out dry, 40 minutes. Cool the cake completely afterwards.
- For making cream, whisk sour cream and sugar together in a bowl for 1 to 2 minutes. Then add in the strawberry liqueur, walnuts, and the cherries, and continue to beat until they form a smooth mixture.
- Cut the cake into layers (I generally only cut it into two, but it can be cut into more if desired). Then spread the cream in these layers, and use whatever remains to decorate the top and sides. This step and the above sixth step should be done quickly, to preserve the composition of the sour cream in warmer climates than the refrigerator.
- Add walnut halves and cherries/sour cherries/blackberries onto the top and sides of the cake to decorate it. Proceed to refrigerate, at least 8 hours and overnight (despite this proviso of "at least" 8 hours, I often can't wait that long and eat it beforehand, but it definitely should be refrigerated before consumption).
© 2017 Ryan Thomas