Did You Know? Red raspberries are native to Europe and have been cultivated for over 400 years, while wild red raspberries are native to North America. More than 40 varieties of raspberries were known by 1867, and today there are more than 200 known species.
Although they've been few and far between, the momentary breaks from rain and snow have brought about a craving for jam-filled cakes and whimsical, fruit-laden desserts. This recipe comes from one of my favorites, Inn Cuisine, where your hostess Sandie brings her love of all things bed and breakfast into the heart of her kitchen. Everything on her beautiful site has me daydreaming of lazy Summer weekends spent relaxing in a cozy cottage somewhere warm. If you haven't stopped by yet, I strongly encourage you to do so, if not for the pictures alone.
As the weather slowly warms, and the heavy meals hibernate until next winter, fruit takes its place on the forefront of our menus. I love putting the heavy chocolate dishes on the backburner, and whipping out the vanilla-scented crumbles and creams. Spring to me is the perfect time of year to experiment with fruity desserts. It's when your berry cravings begin to sprout, along with the first blooms of the season. The humidity isn't in full swing, and you have not yet sworn off your oven until Autumn returns. If not for the welcoming of Spring, this tea cake could at least make an appearance for your Easter Sunday brunch.
Like always, my family asked what I'd be making for them over the weekend, and I read off a list of possibilities. And like most weekends, my sister was skeptical. She doesn't like "jammy" things, and would prefer if I made something different. Of course I didn't really care, since I knew this one was not negotiable. And besides, I love proving her wrong.
Every step to making this cake was wonderful. The colors, the textures, and of course the flavors. Being a fan of anything pink, the ribbon of raspberry puree that ran through the center of the tart was beautiful. Dolloped with free-form mounds of buttery crumbles, the tea cake baked to a pale perfection in no time. I set it by the window to cool while we set off to do some errands on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.
Adapted from Inn Cuisine
1 (12 ounce) package frozen raspberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup very cold butter, sliced into thin pats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10″ round tart pan with a removable bottom; set aside.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine raspberries, sugar and cornstarch over medium heat; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat. Push raspberry mixture through a fine, mesh sieve, discarding seeds and pulp. Set filling aside to cool slightly. Alternatively, you may make ahead, store in an airtight container, and refrigerate and use within 3 days.
Tea Cake Batter
In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender (I used a fork), cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. *Measure and set aside 1/2 cup of this flour-crumb mixture and reserve for crumb topping. To remaining flour mixture add baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir well to combine. Make a well in the center of flour mixture to accept the wet ingredients.
In a small mixing bowl, beat egg; stir in buttermilk, vanilla and almond extracts until just combined. Add all at once to the well you just created in the center of the flour mixture. Stir gently until just moistened; batter will be thick (do not overmix). Spread two-thirds of this batter over the bottom and up 1″ of the sides of prepared tart pan, using fingers to pat into place if necessary. Next, carefully spread the prepared raspberry filling on top of this batter. In small, irregular mounds, drop remaining batter on top of raspberry filling, spreading ever-so-gently with fingers or back of spoon if necessary. Allow mounds of batter to rest atop raspberry filling without pressing into bottom layer of batter. Sprinkle entire cake with the *reserved flour-crumb topping.
In the center of a preheated oven, bake tea cake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean (filling will turn toothpick red). Remove tart pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Once cooled enough, remove cake from tart pan and place on cake stand or serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.