I even found a recipe that was simple enough for the Labor Day weekend and took advantage of some of the ripe blackberries on the monster berry patch that has overtaken the chicken coop. We've never had chickens...Sweetie had enough of that in the Peace Corps according to him...but there was one already built when we moved in. The kids used to use it as a sort of playhouse once I cleaned it out, but for years it has resembled Sleeping Beauty's castle...covered with briars. That means lots of blackberries, but most are out of reach.
The recipe started out as Peach Cake in the Silver Palate Cookbook written by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins in 1979. The Silver Palate was a specialty food store in New York. The idea behind it was to have "simple food prepared in a special way" for working women, bachelors, families to stop in and pick up for a meal, a picnic, or as part of their own feast or entertaining. Since it's been forever since I was in New York, it might still be there...who knows?...but the book is still full of interesting recipes.
This is a single layer simple cake covered with fresh fruit and a sugary, buttery, spiced nut topping and baked in a cast iron skillet. I changed peaches to blackberries and jazzed the topping up a bit. It is good the same day and was even better for breakfast the next day. I served it as is, with just a few more blackberries on the side, but I'm sure it would benefit from a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, too. If you prefer to make it with peaches (or nectarines or plums) the original recipe calls for 3 ripe peaches, peeled and slice.
Simple Cake with Blackberries
4 tablespoons sweet butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons alt
1/4 cup milk
1 pint fresh blackberries, washed, drained and picked over
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter well a heavy 9-inch skillet that can go in the oven.
Cream butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg. Scrape beater and bowl.
Sift dry ingredients together. Beat half into creamed mixture, beat in half of the milk, Repeat, beating well.
Pour batter into prepared skillet. Arrange blackberries on top of batter...a pint pretty much covers the top.
Bake for 25 minutes. While cake bakes, prepare the topping.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
4 tablespoons sweet butter
Cut ingredients for topping together in a small bowl with a fork.
Here is how the cake looks after it has baked 25 minutes but before the topping goes on:
After cake has baked for 25 minutes, open oven and quickly crumble topping over blackberries.
Close oven and bake for another 8 minutes, or until cake is firm and has pulled away from edges of the skillet.
Doesn't that look yummy!?
Serve warm or cooled. More fruit, ice cream, and/or whipped cream can accompany slices of this cake.