We'll all be celebrating Independence Day a little differently this year, with socially distanced picnics or backyard hangouts with the people we've been sheltering in place with for months.
Sometimes a festive dessert can make the difference between a regular ol' Saturday barbecue and one that feels like a holiday.
Consider this blackberry-topped pound cake from "The Great British Baking Show: The Big Book of Amazing Cakes." The book features recipes from the baking competition that has gained as much popularity in the U.S. as in its home in the U.K.
We can sit at our homes in Omaha or Austin and cheer on Priya, Briony, Kim-Joy and David, my personal favorites from recent seasons, and marvel at the not-so-nuanced differences between our baking cultures while drooling over the results.
This pound cake is a dessert that folks on both sides of the pond would recognize, and it's the blackberries, edible flowers and honey-sweetened Greek yogurt-based topping that nudges it into holiday territory for me. Instead of blackberries, you could use raspberries, blueberries or strawberries - or a patriotic mix of several red and blueberries.
Blackberry Pound Cake
Don't be put off by the longer baking and cooling times for this cake - it's really simple to make. Dusting the fruit in flour before folding in helps to prevent the berries sinking in the mixture.
For the sponge:
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
• 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 5 large eggs
• 3/4 cup whole milk
• 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus an extra 1 tablespoon for dusting
• 2 teaspoon baking powder
• A pinch of salt
• 1 1/2 cups blackberries
For the topping:
• 1 1/4 cups Greek yogurt
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 2/3 cup blackberries, halved
• Edible flowers (optional)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until pale and creamy.
With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition (don't worry if the mixture curdles slightly - it will come together when you add the flour).
Gradually add the milk and mix well to combine. Using a large metal spoon, fold the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture, until just combined.
Put the blackberries in a small plastic bag with the extra 1 tablespoon of flour and give them a shake to coat. Gently fold them into the cake mixture until evenly distributed.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely (1 to 2 hours).
Meanwhile, make the topping: Using a wooden spoon, beat together the Greek yogurt and honey in a bowl, until smooth.
Once the cake is completely cool, spread the topping on top. Decorate with the halved blackberries and then dot with edible flowers, if using. Serves 12.
- From "The Great British Baking Show: The Big Book of Amazing Cakes" by The Baking Show Team (Clarkson Potter, $27.99)