For fans of blueberries, raspberries and other summer berries, it is hard to resist putting them into anything and everything you bake when they’re in season. So why try? Berries make a great addition to a cake, adding sweetness and a splash of color to anything you include them in. I incorporated lots of fresh blueberries and raspberries into this Red, White and Blue Berry Yogurt Cake. The berries add a lot of flavor to just about every bite of this vanilla cake and they also make for a beautiful presentation.
The cake is a moist, tender cake that is a cross between a coffee cake and a pound cake in texture. It has a tight, but tender, crumb and is made with plain yogurt that makes it very moist. I use thick, greek-style yogurt for this recipe, but if you don’t have that, you can thicken some plain yogurt by straining it through a cheesecloth for an hour before use to remove excess liquid or you can use sour cream. A nonfat or lowfat yogurt will work, but you’ll get a slightly richer result if you use full-fat yogurt.
I used fresh berries in this cake because they’re in season and they’re less likely to “bleed” than frozen berries. The trick to getting the berries to remain suspended in the batter is twofold: toss about 1 tsp of extra flour over the berries before folding them in and only fold them into half of the batter, pouring the half of the batter without berries into the pan first. You can use frozen berries for the cake (use them frozen and toss them in 2 tsp flour to minimize “bleeding”), but you’ll still need fresh berries to garnish the top. The icing here is a very simple cream cheese icing that adds a nice sweetness to the cake and gives it a really clean look – and makes sure those fresh berries topping the cake really stick in place!
It is easy to add a splash of food coloring to a batch of cake or cookies to get a red, white and blue effect for a holiday, and that does deliver a beautifully colored result. That said, it is nice to know that you can get a festive cake for the 4th of July (or another patriotic holiday) without needing to add any food coloring. This cake fits the bill perfectly, as the combination of white cake with white frosting really make the red and blue berries pop out and make the cake look very festive. Of course, you can make this cake any day of the year, but it’s nice to have this type of cake in the back of your mind when you’re looking for a festive, but easy to make, cake for a picnic, barbecue or other summer celebration.
Red, White and Blue Berry Yogurt Cake
2 cups cake flour (8 ounces)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 cup (nonfat) plain greek-style yogurt
1/2 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 oz fresh blueberries
4 oz fresh raspberries
cream cheese frosting (recipe below)
fresh berries, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until light. Beat in egg and egg white. If using a vanilla bean, scrap the seeds into the mixing bowl, otherwise stir in 2 tsp vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the yogurt in two or three additions and mixing at low speed until everything is just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan, then fold the raspberries and blueberries into the remaining batter carefully. Spread berry batter evenly over the plain batter in the cake pan.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool cake completely in the pan and turn it out onto a serving plate before frosting.
Spread a thin, even layer of cream cheese frosting over the cake and garnish with fresh berries before serving.
Cream Cheese Frosting
3-oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 – 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Cream together cream cheese, buttermilk, milk and vanilla until smooth. Gradually blend in confectioners’ sugar until frosting is thick and creamy.