It's rare that I shoot in black and white. I never feel like I get it right. But this past weekend, when an early Season thunderstorm approached, it seemed appropriate. Now seeing these photographs a few days later, I don't remember the color of the flowers, but the feeling of that afternoon with its sporadic strong breeze, and the light drops of water on my neck is what sticks with me.
It's been exactly 2 months since I've had a real dessert. I do feel much better, and I am making healthier choices. But I miss the whole routine of finding a recipe, tweaking it to your liking, buying the perfect ingredients, and settling into the kitchen to create something beautiful and delicious. I've been told "Just make the dessert, but not eat it! Simple!".
Are you serious?
Now that I feel I can eat just one piece and be satisfied (instead of, ya know, three slices.) it was time to get back in the kitchen. We had some friends over for dinner, and it seemed the perfect opportunity to feed my baking needs, and send the leftovers home with others.
Enter: Blackberry & Pecan Crumb Cake
Crumb cakes in general are amazing, but often can be too dry or not have a special ingredient that gives it a leg up on the other crumb cakes. Blackberries, with their jewel-like features can be so comforting and elegant. You can also substitute raspberries, or dried fruit like apricots. They will all taste amazing.
By adding chopped pecans and brown sugar to the crumb itself, it gives the cake a nutty and sweet crunch that is unexpected.
Blackberry & Pecan Crumb Cake
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
Heat oven to 350˚F. To make the crumb topping, you can use a food processor to pulse the ingredients together, or chop the pecans finely and add all ingredients to a stand mixer. The crumb topping should be a crumbly mixer, with the butter completely incorporated. Set aside.
Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. In your food processor, or stand mixer, add the butter, flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.
Transfer cake batter to the prepared pan. Press blackberries into the batter, it's okay if they overlap. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the blackberries until covered. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 55-60 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan before serving.