When I think about desserts in the summer, I want things that are easy to make and that really showcase some bright, summertime flavors. Easy to make desserts are nice year-round, of course, but in the summer I want to spend the evenings outside enjoying the nice weather – not working in the kitchen – and I also don’t want to leave the oven on for hours when I want the house to stay cool. This Fresh Raspberry Cake is a beautiful summer dessert that hits both of these nails right on the head.
The cake is a tender, buttery cake that is packed with lots of fresh, ripe raspberries. The berries are arranged on the top of the cake before baking and the batter rises up to hold them in place as it bakes in the oven. The result is a cake that looks like it is just packed with fruit – which it is – because it almost looks like a fruit cobbler. The red raspberries give the cake gorgeous pops of color and make it look just about irresistible.
The cake batter is made with buttermilk and flavored with vanilla and a hint of lemon zest. The lemon and vanilla give the cake a little depth of flavor and are a nice background to the raspberries, which are definitely the star here. I always use fresh raspberries when making this cake because they have the best flavor when they are in season and they look the prettiest in the finished cake (as frozen berries can lose some of their shape while baking on a cake like this one). The cake needs no frosting, but a little scoop of whipped cream is a nice way to dress it up a little before serving.
Fresh Raspberry Cake
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1 tbsp coarse sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and lemon zest, mixing until smooth. Blend in about 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk. Stir in half of the remaining flour mixture, followed by the rest of the buttermilk, then add the last of the flour mixture. Stir only until everything is just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Batter will be thick.
Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Arrange raspberries evenly over the top of the batter. The batter will rise up around the berries as it bakes, so you don’t need to push them in. Sprinkle the cake with coarse sugar.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container.