brown sugar buttermilk cake with fresh blackberries

May 23, 2012

If I could write lines to a parody of Sh*t Girls Say for Sh*t Food Bloggers Say, they would go something like this:

“No you may not eat that slice of cake! I haven’t taken a picture of it yet!”

“We are eating dinner tonight at 3 p.m. because the light is better. Get hungry!”

“Hey! I need you to stop watching TV – like right NOW – and pour this batter into that pan for me so that I can get an action shot.”

“Thank you for letting us use your car to go upstate for a wedding over the weekend. Here is this bundt I made for you but please ignore that it has a slice missing. I had to eat a piece for “research” and for “photographic purposes”.

That last one is truly the story of my life.

The moment I set foot down the path of baked good overload a.k.a. writing a blog, I always seem to have an abundance of baked goods but they are never quite in perfect post-oven form. Once I gave away a whole cake which I had first cut a slice out of, took some photos, then replaced the slice and pretended like nothing had happened.

Luckily I was able to re-frost it and no one even knew. Until now.

Better to share half a cake with friends than no cake at all, right?

Speaking of which, this cake is exactly the cake to be shared with friends – even if you sneak one slice first.

Brown sugar and buttermilk are two of my favorite things – second and third only to bourbon – and highlighting them both in a cake has been a long overdue mission. I have been dreaming of an everyday cake like this made with oil to be sure there wouldn’t be any time spent waiting for a certain something to come to room temperature. A subtle hint of cinnamon adds spice and maple syrup rounds out the sweetness of the brown sugar. Fresh berries are the final touch but really any fruit will work if it is cut small. Diced strawberries, tiny bits of nectarines, or omit the fruit all together and toss in chopped spiced pecans. Have you been needing an easy, super versatile, backyard picnic bundt for the summer months?

Yeah you have!

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Cake with Fresh Blackberries
Makes one bundt cake

2 1/4 cups (281 grams) flour
1 1/2 cups (305 grams) brown sugar
1/3 cup (25 grams) almond flour [or 4 tablespoons (31 grams) flour]
1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 cup (235 ml) well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature
about 1 cup (145 grams) fresh blackberries, raspberries, or other finely chopped fruit

Preheat oven to 350. Generously butter a bundt pan and dust the sides with flour. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, brown sugar, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a medium bowl stir together the buttermilk, oil, maple syrup, vanilla and eggs and beat until smooth. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk mixture all at once.

Combine using several quick strokes but before everything gets mixed together add the berries – crushing about half slightly with your fingers as they are sprinkled into the batter – then finish mixing with several more strokes to fully combine. Be careful not to overmix and it is okay if a few streaks of flour remain.

Pour evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let the cake rest in the pan for 30-45 minutes (this helps to ensure that half your bundt doesn’t decide to stay in the pan). Turn out onto a pretty plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.


{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar May 23, 2012 at 8:26 am

This sounds fabulous, and it’s so easy! Yum!


ileana May 23, 2012 at 8:27 am

This looks great!


Ali May 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm

So beautiful! Nothing says friendship like a good bundt. 🙂


Sue/the view from great island May 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm

The bundt is such an artistic cake, my last one didn’t release form the pan and ended up looking like a train wreck, so I’ve been scared off of them for a while. This one is tempting me to try again 😉


Lillie May 23, 2012 at 11:35 pm

This is the perfect cake to get your bundt groove back [pun intended! Ha!] Some tips that work: really butter up the pan (use a tablespoon or two) and a few tablespoons of flour to coat it well. Then let the cooked cake rest a full 30 minutes before releasing. You should be good to go! Happy baking!!


Katie May 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I LOVE your list of Sh*t Food Bloggers Say! I’ve said all of those things before. I can totally relate.


Amrita May 24, 2012 at 7:21 am

Waiter [smiling]: Your pork chops with white beans, ma’am.

Me: Wait wait!! Don’t put that down! I’m not done taking pictures of this wine bottle!

[cue awkward silence and an extremely confused waiter]


Lillie May 24, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Haha! YES – I have totally been there! 🙂


Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes May 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Oh yes, the food gift with the missing piece (s)… They get used to it though and don´t mind one bit! A bundt cake with maple syrup and spices, so perfect!


Molly May 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm

this looks awesome. love the idea of brown sugar/buttermilk! and would be good with so many different fillings…


Kelsey May 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm

What a lovely recipe!


meg May 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Making a bundt cake is one of the more satisfying things in a baker’s life (or at least this baker’s life). Golden brown, perfectly formed, substantial, elegant, yet unassuming. And buttermilk…it can help


Teramo May 25, 2012 at 10:54 pm

I love this recipe! I did have a question though…I am a maple syrup fanatic so could I cut back on the brown sugar and increase the quantity of maple syrup? Also, I use organic maple syrup exclusively now…I changed over a little while ago as I find the taste to be so much better and it’s healthier as well. Do you find the same? I know it can be hard to find but I get mine online at a site called …it’s from Quebec Canada and I love the taste. Please let me know when you get a chance. Thank you.


Lillie May 27, 2012 at 11:08 am

Yes – I love organic maple syrup! What about using maple sugar in place of some of the brown sugar? You could cut back on the brown sugar a bit, but you’d also have to cut back on the other liquid ingredients as well. 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup maple syrup, and 3/4 cup buttermilk may be a good place to start. I’d love to hear how it turns out! Thank you for that awesome link as well!


rosabel May 27, 2012 at 10:26 am

This looks awasome! What a great recipe! Thanks for sharing!
I think I’m gonna try Teramo’s idea with Organic Maple Syrup, to give it a ‘Quebec’ flavor! (I just went on that cool rouge site…thanks for the tip!)


Lillie May 27, 2012 at 11:09 am

Excellent! And agreed – that site is awesome! Happy baking!


Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies May 29, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I just love baking with buttermilk. And blackberries are my absolute favorite!! I think I might need to try this one!


Laura June 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm

made this the other day with blueberries – really really good, love the maple syrup in there.


Sarah June 5, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Looks delicious! A photo on pinterest led me here. Could you tell me anything about the bundt pan you use here? (Brand/material/etc?) I love the shape of it and the fact that it looks like it doesn’t have a nonstick interior (something I prefer to avoid). Thank you!


Lillie June 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Hi Sarah! So glad you found me. I have this pan and I’ve been very happy with it. I would definitely recommend it.


Denise | Chez Danisse June 6, 2012 at 12:53 am

Looks so good! Patiently awaiting blackberry season…


shelly June 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm

made this earlier today. fabulous cake. husband approved. thanks!


Lillie June 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Yay! Bundt success!


Yvette June 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I made this today. Turned out very well. Left out the maple syrup but it was very good. Thanks for the recipe! Love the blog..


Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe August 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm

This looks delicious and insanely versatile too – can’t wait to try it!


Laurie Thomas December 31, 2012 at 6:49 pm

I don’t even like cake, but I may have to try this one.


Jana King July 28, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I know I’m a year late reading this, but I wanted you to know that I’m a new fan. Tried this cake today, foe my husband’s birthday. Gave it a slathering of caramel icing. Mmmm. King-o, the Hubs, really liked it. Moist, just a bit of tart from the blackberries. Delish!


Lillie August 30, 2013 at 10:45 am

Hi Jana! Caramel frosting sounds amazing on this cake. Glad to hear that it was enjoyed!


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