I feel like I’m just now getting in the swing of summer. We saw my friends A.G. and Maura last night who were lamenting the imminent end of summer, which kinda stopped me in my tracks. They’re right: it’s mid August, which means September’s just around the corner. And now that my work schedule has settled down and we’re all moved in, I’m determined to do nothing more than soak up these next few weeks. More grilling. More beaches. More flip-flops.
We’ve gotten off to a great start this week with lots of barbeques, ice cream, and the like. We spent the afternoon yesterday blessed blissed out (Freudian typo) sailing around the Boston harbor islands on A.G. and Maura’s beautiful new boat – what a trip to sail out of the Charlestown marina and look back over the ocean towards the city. Then we grilled pizzas with these tomatoes and eggplant from the backyard, ate watermelon, and drank wine on the back porch. And I went to bed feeling totally relaxed for the first time in too long, which I’d like to think was a result of the salt water and the breeze, but maybe the wine helped too.
Speaking of the swing of summer, I baked up this simple skillet cake earlier in the week to bring to a barbeque. It’s adapted from a recipe I saw on the always inspiring Smitten Kitchen for a Raspberry Buttermilk Cake. The cake came about as I scoured the cupboards and the fridge for something I could make quickly with ingredients already on hand. Since moving a little farther from the market, I’ve become much less willing to run out for a missing ingredients and in turn much more resourceful. I tweaked Smitten Kitchen’s recipe to use yogurt instead of buttermilk and topped the cake with sliced ripe peaches and blackberries, but any ripe summer fruit would do the trick. Baked in skillet, this cake is beautiful and rustically humble. Serve it with some vanilla ice cream for dessert, or since it’s notably not-too-sweet, make it for Sunday Breakfast and eat a slice with a pour of maple syrup and a steaming cup of coffee. Best of all, the cake comes together in 15 minutes and bakes up in about 30, leaving you plenty of time to sit on the porch and soak up the last few weeks of summer.
For the Cake
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
¾ cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
2 small very ripe peaches, cut into thin slices
1 pint fresh blackberries
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 inch caste iron skillet (or use a cake or pie pan). Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer or using electric beaters, beat together the butter and the ¾ cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again.
Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the yogurt to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once again to ensure the batter is evenly mixed.
Pour the batter into the prepared skillet or baking dish and arrange the peach slices, slightly overlapping, around the outside of the skillet. Scatter half the blackberries in the center of the cake and then sprinkle the whole thing with the 2 tbsp sugar. Bake 20 minutes and then sprinkle the other half of the blackberries on the center of the cake (the first half will have sunk, spreading their deliciousness to the inside of the cake, while the second half will sit on top and look pretty.) Bake an additional 10-15 minutes until the cake is golden and set and a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Serve in the skillet, warm or at room temperature.