A few years in the past, I become e-gifted a recipe for a simple fruit-topped cake known as Cup o’. The electronic mail ended with, “I wager my mom made 1000 of these when we were youngsters.”
The straight-up recipe starts with melting a stick of butter inside the oven within the cake pan (simpler to grease the pan), then pouring the liquid butter right into a bowl with a cup of flour, a cup of milk and a cup of sugar, plus a perfect amount of baking powder. Once these ingredients are stirred collectively and scraped into the pan, an insurrection of summertime fruit is dumped on the pinnacle, and the cake bakes into both a pudding-like shape, heat and gooey, or a more impregnable cake with well-browned edges, absolutely dependent on the quantity of time it spends in the oven.
I made the cake some instances and preferred it well sufficient. It turned into the close, however no longer the deal with I concept it could be. I was much less keen on the pudding shape and more entranced with the one’s crispy edges. I got to work and made this cake my personal, one supposed for the potluck table. In the past month, I doled out this cake to buddies, the circle of relatives, individuals, workmen, and shortly-to-be-neighbors, creating a dozen variations until it reached, in my mind, its full ability.
From the outset, I knew I desired this to be a buttermilk cake. Buttermilk from my neighborhood dairy is thick and creamy and glugs out of the bottle. For this cake, the buttermilk from the grocery store works as well. However, the thicker version makes a cake with a barely greater wet and gentle crumb.
Changing from whole milk to buttermilk inside the unique cake meant adjusting the leavening from baking powder to baking soda (unlike milk, buttermilk does no longer want the cream of tartar, an acidic element in baking powder, to activate the leavening), and I fiddled with the amount of, nicely, the entirety else. I brought eggs. I upped the flour. I changed the ratio of fruit to the batter. And I modified the pan size. The result is a truly muffin-like cake, a little like an espresso cake, and reminiscent of pound cake.
I used something fruit that was reachable to top the cake. I mixed berries. I used white and yellow peaches. I stirred collectively sweet and bitter cherries. Any fruit suits the bill and scents the cake whilst it bakes.
This is a cake that any baker will want to make their very own. I know because I gave the recipe to two friends, and they each changed it up. I use vanilla to addition a heady scent to the cake; however, my friend Gail used almond extract. When I introduced cinnamon, I concept it overwhelmed the fruit’s flavor and the tang of the buttermilk; however, Abbie added nutmeg and changed it into glad. I assume cardamom might be scrumptious, too.
Here is your new pass-to-summer cake. Make it as soon as I suspect you may make it again and again, as I even have. Slice the cake into big square slabs; nobody will whinge if their piece has a scoop of ice cream snuggling up next to it. Around right here, we have been calling it breakfast cake with certainly no guilt. And if there may be buttermilk leftover, it makes delicious biscuits, is a terrific brine for birds, and is a great sipping drink on a hot day, or so said my grandfather.
Buttermilk Sheet Cake with Peaches and Blueberries
If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand mixer and a massive bowl will work simply as well.
Make beforehand: Cover the cake tightly and keep it at the counter for approximately 3 days.
Makes 15 to 20 servings
16 tablespoons (226 grams; 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
3 cups (360 g) flour
half teaspoon (3 g) baking soda
half tsp (three g) kosher salt or exceptional sea salt
2 cups (four hundred g) sugar
3 huge eggs, at room temperature
half tsp vanilla extract
1 cup nicely shaken buttermilk, ideally complete-fats
three peeled, pitted peaches, sliced 1/2-inch thick (approximately 2 cups; see notice)
1 cup (one hundred fifty g) blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9-by using-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, so the two shorter aspects overhang a bit (for lifting the cake out of the pan.) Grease the paper with a bit of butter.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Combine the sixteen tablespoons of butter and the sugar within the bowl of a stand mixer; beat on medium speed, three to four mins, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs separately, blending nicely after each addition. Scrape down the bowl every so often.
Add the vanilla extract to the buttermilk and stir to mix. At low speed, alternately upload the flour aggregate and the buttermilk mixture in or 3 additions, ending with the flour, blending till barely integrated. Use a flexible spatula to gently fold the batter a piece greater using hand, making sure to scrape the lowest of the bowl to paintings in any residual dry elements. Once the batter appears mixed without white streaks, scrape it into the organized pan. Smooth the pinnacle with an offset spatula.
Arrange peach slices on the top and scatter the blueberries evenly over the peaches. Bake (middle rack) for about one hour (begin checking after 50 to 55 mins), till the cake is golden brown on the rims and starts to pull away from the sides. The batter will blow his own trumpet over the fruit; once the cake cools, it’ll deflate a piece.
Transfer to a cord rack to chill absolutely (in the pan). Lift the cake the parchment paper’s usage ends, then discard the paper and reduce it into 15 to twenty squares.
Note: To peel peaches, plunge them into boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds, then use a slotted spoon to switch them to a bowl of ice water. As soon as they’re cool enough to handle, slip off the skins—the riper the peach, the much less time it desires within the boiling water.