Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lime Sour Cream Cake with Fresh Blackberry Sauce

Hello again!  Remember a few weeks ago when I was complaining that it still didn't feel like summer in New York? That it was still way too cold?  That I was still wearing a leather jacket and boots to work, even though it was June?  Well, friends, those days are long over.  It's definitely summer now!  We've been having a pretty big heat wave for the past several days, the kind of heat wave that also comes with a ton of humidity.  This is the kind of heat wave where you want to go outside, because it looks like a gorgeous day, but you change your mind the second you step out the door, because it feels like you're drowning in the hot, unnecessarily humid air.  This is the kind of heat wave where, if you're brave enough to get past the whole drowning thing, you end up wanting to go back inside because after only three minutes of being outside, you're completely soaked all the way down to your underwear.  I know, it's gross, and perhaps a bit too much information, but let's face it. We've all been there multiple times this week.  Maybe even multiple times today, if you're that unlucky. Fortunately, today feels slightly cooler than it was this weekend, and I even felt a soft breeze as I walked from the subway stop to work (5 street blocks uphill isn't really terrible, unless it's 95 degrees outside).  It was a breeze of hot air, but hey, I'll take what I can get.  A hot breeze is better than no breeze.

I'll be honest with you guys though, I don't actually mind the heat as much as I make it seem.  Outwardly, I am almost always the first to complain about the hot weather, because it can get pretty annoying.  The heat and humidity can do unspeakable things to my hair, and when that happens, it somehow almost always will coincide with me not having anything to pull my hair back with.  I also have to take the subway at least twice a day, and wait on the train platform in Penn station as part of my daily commute, and neither of those situations is very pleasant once the summer arrives.  Basically, I hate the sweaty and gross consequences that come with the heat/humidity combo, but if that part could somehow be removed, I really don't think I would mind the heat at all.  I really love being outside, and hot summer weather is the perfect excuse to run after the ice cream truck in an attempt to get a chocolate dipped soft serve ice cream cone.  I mean, a girl's gotta cool off somehow, right? 

I've been getting sidetracked, again.  I know this is not an ice cream post.  I know I've been hating on the heat, and that I've always been an advocate of making no-bake recipes in the summer time in order to avoid further heating up my kitchen, but I made an exception for this particular cake.  This is totally my kind of cake.  The kind of cake where, if I'm not careful, I could easily eat half in one sitting, or perhaps even more.  This is a super simple, flavorful cake, with no frosting.  A cake where the only decoration needed is a light dousing of sweet powdered sugar and a drizzle of freshly made blackberry sauce.  This, is the perfect everyday summer cake.

I love simple cakes like this.  This cake does not require any fancy ingredients or equipment, and can be made perfectly with nothing but a bowl and a rubber spatula.  This cake came about because I happened to come across some fresh blackberries at a really great price in the supermarket, and I, still in my poor-college-student mindset, couldn't pass up this kind of deal.  I promptly went home with my new treasure, and set about to make a cake.  A quick Google search led me to this cake, and I immediately knew this was the cake I had to make.  I had everything in my kitchen already, so I guess it was a great act of fate that led me to those little blackberries. Gotta love when that happens!  

Like I said before, this cake is super easy to prepare, requiring only a few minutes of time to mix up, and just another couple to bake.  The cake comes out moist and fluffy, thanks to the sour cream (I seriously love using sour cream and yogurt in cakes, because they always come out with a perfectly delicious texture.  Whoever came up with that idea, thank you).  If you don't have sour cream on hand, plain Greek yogurt would work nicely too, and would give the cake a bit more tang.  The cake isn't overly lime-y, but you can certainly tell that it is meant to be a lime cake.  I think lemons could be easily substituted, as well as any other berry for the accompanying sauce, which also comes together with just a few pulses of your food processor/immersion blender/Magic Bullet.  Use whatever tool you have on hand, because this fresh blackberry sauce is the perfect way to finish off a slice of cake.  Make a double batch of the sauce, and you'll even have some left over for a scoop of ice cream.

A lime sour cream cake with fresh blackberry sauce is the perfect cake to have on hand basically at all times this summer.  Have a plain slice for breakfast, or a slice with blackberry sauce for dessert, or even better, just because.  Hooray for summer!

Lime Sour Cream Cake with Fresh Blackberry Sauce
recipe from Smitten Kitchen


For the Cake

1 cup sour cream (I used reduced fat because I had it on hand, but use whatever you have.  Greek yogurt works too!)
1/3 vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Blackberry Sauce

6 ounces fresh blackberries
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and position a rack in the middle of the oven.  Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan (a 9-inch round cake pan will work as well).

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, oil, sugar, lime zest, and lime juice.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to whisk well after each addition.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together, right into the sour cream batter.  Stir with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.  

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan, and bake until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.  Allow the cake to cool inside the springform pan on a wire rack for about ten minutes. After 10 minutes, unclasp the sides of the springform pan, or, invert the cake onto the wire rack if you're using a regular round cake pan.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the blackberry sauce.  Combine the blackberries, water, sugar, and lime juice in a food processor.   Puree the blackberry mixture until it is very smooth, and then press the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.  Place the sauce in a plastic container, cover, and chill in the fridge. 

To serve, dust the cake lightly with powdered sugar and top off with the blackberry sauce.  The cake can be served slightly warm or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Makes 1 9-inch cake


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