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Stashing summer’s last gasp

When I left Seattle this morning, the city was still tucked snugly under a heavy blanket of clouds. It’s been this way for a week or two now, with autumn beginning its slow, sad tease, sending in an advance guard of low gray clouds every morning and sneaking the daylight away earlier and earlier every evening. Six-thirty this morning found me at the chilly bus stop with my wet hair and full suitcase, New York-bound and knowing too well that when I return, the Pacific Northwest summer may have already had its last gasp. The season will subtly shift its mandate from plum clafoutis to purple cabbage, from outdoor lamb roasts to oven-roasted chicken, and from test-kitchen beer floats to tea.

It’s not so bad, really. I’m a soups-and-stews girl at heart, anyway, and cool weather is as good an excuse as any to spend more time at the stove. But before I relinquish my halter tops, flip flops, and the oscillating fan, you can be sure I’ll stash a bit of summer in the freezer, in the form of a raspberry-blueberry pound cake.

This recipe has been my mother’s summertime standby for nearly twenty years, since it first appeared in Bon Appétit in July 1986. When the season calls, she opens the recipe card-catalog she keeps in a drawer in the kitchen, pulls out the index card reading “Blueberry-Raspberry Pound Cake,” and takes it, reference librarian-style, to the closet that houses her food magazines from the ‘80s to mid-‘90s. Today, the pages of that old Bon Appétit are yellowed around the edges and suffering a sort of low-grade rigor mortis, but the cake is no worse for the wear. Simple and sophisticated, its tight, buttery crumb is scented with kirsch and shot through with soft summer berries.

Served alongside a melty scoop of ice cream or dolloped with whipped cream, it makes a perfect barbeque dessert from July 4th to Labor Day. And even more importantly, it freezes beautifully, so after you’ve slipped out of your summer whites, you’ll find it goes remarkably well with a wool blanket and a pot of hot tea.

But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that too soon. After all, I’ll only be gone for ten days.

Raspberry-Blueberry Pound Cake
Bon Appétit, July 1986

This cake can be prepared a day or two ahead of serving; just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it at room temperature. If you choose to freeze it for future occasions, wrap it in plastic wrap and then seal it in large freezer bag.
It’s an awfully easy way to get a last gasp of summer at any time of year.

5 large eggs
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ cup (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, at room temperature, plus a bit more for the pan
2 Tbs kirsch
2 cups plus 8 Tbs cake flour, plus a bit more for the pan
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh blueberries

Generously butter a 9-cup Bundt pan, and dust it with flour, shaking out the excess.

In the bowl of a food processor, blend together the eggs and the sugar until smooth and thick, about 1 minute, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the butter and kirsch, and blend until the mixture is fluffy, about 1 minute, stopping once to scrape down the bowl. Add 2 cups plus 6 Tbs flour, baking powder, and salt, and pulse twice or so to just combine. Do not overmix.

In a large bowl, toss the raspberries and blueberries with the remaining 2 Tbs flour. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter into the berries. Transfer this finished batter to the prepared Bundt pan, spreading it evenly across the top. Place the Bundt pan on the center rack in a cold oven, and turn the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until a toothpick or knife inserted in the cake’s center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 25 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes; then invert it onto a rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature, with tea, ice cream, or whipped cream, as the weather dictates.


Blogger cc(,``o said...

nice recipe. too bad i havent seen any fresh blueberries or raspberries here.

hmmm soup and stews. can you post some easy to make recipes? something that has 15mins prep time at most. it's for a friend and i'm having a hard time 'coz i've never been into soups.


5:43 PM, September 02, 2005  
Blogger foodiechickie said...

Have a good trip!

7:25 PM, September 02, 2005  
Blogger cookie jill said...

I challenge other food bloggers to give aid to those who worked in the food industry and made New Orleans so flavorful:

New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund A fund has been established to benefit employees of the hospitality industry of the Greater New Orleans area who have experienced hardships because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Contributions may be sent to:

New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund
Greater Houston Community Foundation
4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77027
Call 713-333-2200 for additional information


8:25 PM, September 02, 2005  
Blogger Clare Eats said...

Oh looks fab, I am so looking fwd to bluberries! They never really get to be a good price here... I saw some today for $9 a punnet! OH MY!

1:07 AM, September 03, 2005  
Blogger Zarah Maria said...

Enjoy NY Molly!

3:11 AM, September 03, 2005  
Blogger Nic said...

While I'm a big fan of plain pound cake, I must admit that this one looks stunning. And, of course, tasty. Thanks for the post, Molly. Have fun in New York!

6:59 AM, September 03, 2005  
Blogger Shauna said...


I'm heading to the Ballard Farmers' Market tomorrow to buy the last of the summer berries. Here's the perfect recipe to illuminate them even further.

Have a wonderful time in New York with the boy. Seattle will still be here when you return. And don't forget that crisp air, the quieting voices, and the joys of butternut squash.

8:03 AM, September 03, 2005  
Blogger farmgirl said...

That looks absolutely delicious. Will have to stash a copy of the recipe and try to forget about it until next year (good luck--I want a hunk NOW). Thanks for sharing. Hope you have a wonderful trip!

5:33 AM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger Molly said...

Leslie, here's hoping some blueberries or raspberries make it your way soon. And as for soups and stews, take a look at my recipe index, where you'll find a few examples. Only a couple of them are speedy, though, and they tend to be on the lighter, more summery end of the spectrum. My favorite wintery stews take a good, slow simmer...

Foodiechickie, thank you!

Cookie Jill, thank you for letting me know about the hospitality workers relief fund--a very worthy, and much deserving, cause.

Clare Eats, I second that "OH MY!" Those prices sound outrageous! Though I do love this pound cake, I have to admit that if I could only find berries at that steep a price, I'd eat them straight from the box, like caviar.

Thank you, Zarah Maria!

All modesty aside, Nic, I really do have to heartily recommend this pound cake. What makes it special, I think, is that little splash of kirsch. It lends a different depth to the buttery sweetness of an otherwise standard pound cake with berries. I think you'd approve, m'dear.

Shauna, I hope Ballard brought you plenty of berries! I have to admit that, despite my little bit of end-of-summer melacholy, I'm looking forward to seeing the winter squashes come into the market, especially those small striped delicatas...

Farmgirl, thank you!

7:57 AM, September 05, 2005  
Anonymous Melissa said...

Another beautiful recipe! It's amazing how well some recipes stand the test of time, isn't it? Like you I'm wistful at the shortening days and cooler weather, but I'm trying to make the best of it by thinking of all the glorious things that can be done with apples, hazelnuts and pumpkin. Have a wonderful time with Brandon, and just think, you'll have a last bite of summer waiting in the freezer to cheer you up when you return!

9:49 AM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger margrocks said...

will bake and freeze a little summer in the form of your pound cake, thx.

welcome to nyc, molly. fall is slowly descending here too. i coulda sworn this morning, as i walked back from the bagel shop, piping hazelnut coffee in hand, that i felt a little brush of Autumn's skirts against my bare arm. heavens, was that a chilly breeze? hope so.

can't wait for your autumnal concoctions. sweater weather makes me hungry. dying to try baking a stew/ casserole thing in a pumpkin.

1:22 PM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger Cathy said...

Hi Molly - I enjoyed your post and the pound cake sounds wonderful. Have a great time in NYC!

7:21 PM, September 05, 2005  
Blogger Michèle said...

Hi Molly, enjoy a wonderful 10 days in New York.. Im sure it wont be long enough but maybe you can smuggle him back with you in your luggage when you return :)

10:00 AM, September 06, 2005  
Blogger Dawna said...

I often shy away from pound cakes, (and I've never made one) because they always seem both so rich and so dense. Judging from the photo, though, yours is clearly not the stodge I've been accustomed to. I love raspberries in cake - perhaps I'll hammer down my richness-flinch and manage to give this one a whirl. I wonder if blackberries would work as well?

10:02 AM, September 06, 2005  
Blogger Molly said...

Melissa, it's funny...I found myself thinking about butternut squash-apple soup this afternoon, and this evening I couldn't resist snatching up some little thumb-size Brussels sprouts at the Fairway in West Harlem. Looks like I'm embracing fall after all...

Margrocks, thank you for the kind welcome! NYC is indeed treating me well, and yes, you're right--there is a little autumn in the air. Last night we were out in NJ with Brandon's family, and after sundown, it was downright chilly. Delicious, I must admit! Autumnal concoctions coming right up...

Cathy, thank you.

Michele, I'm sorry to say that I brought my carry-on suitcase, so I don't think he'll fit. Sniffle, sniffle...

Dawna, I tend to agree with your pound cake sentiments, but this one is a good twist on the usual. It is buttery--I won't lie--but it isn't too rich, nor is it brick-like in the belly. The berries help to lighten and spark it up, and the kirsch gives it an unusual nuance and sophistication. I say give it a go--and yes, blackberries would be wonderful.

4:30 PM, September 06, 2005  
Blogger violet said...

oh man, that is THE most efficient way i've heard of anyone store old back issues of cooking rags. absolutely brilliant.

i'm glad you share my feelings on the season change. though to see time fly by (it seems like spring was yesterday!), i look forward to the change. and to be cold and to rejoice when spring comes again. and to eat hot, heavy soups and breads.... wonderful.

have a great time in new york and let us know of the culinary delights you encounter.

1:56 PM, September 08, 2005  
Blogger chanit said...

It looks delicious,
I love your Blog !
Chanit :-)

8:47 AM, September 09, 2005  
Blogger pomegranate said...

when do we get to meet Brandon?!

11:05 AM, September 09, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I wanted to ask a few questions about the recepy. I tried it this weekend, but substitutet the blue berrys for black berries.

Is it really so that one shouldn't melt the butter. Should I just mix it in. Also the cake is very tasty, but my got a bit dense. What could I have done wrong. I'm a beginner at the cooking thing, and this blog is such an inspiration

Many Thanks Maria

3:11 AM, September 12, 2005  
Blogger Molly said...

Well, yes, Violet, pardon my little boast, but my mom is pretty damn brilliant--in magazine storage and beyond! As for me, I usually just tear out any recipes that catch my eye and stash them in an accordion file. Not nearly as flashy as a kitchen-drawer card catalog, but well, it works. And as for New York, I have a full report--more than one, actually--coming right up...

Chanit, thank you! It's lovely to meet you.

Pomegranate, there's more of Brandon on the way, including [insert suspenseful music] a photo...

And Maria, thank you for your queries--and congratulations on your new forays into cooking! As for the butter, it should be at room temperature--soft, but not melted. And as for the cake's texture, well, pound cakes generally are fairly dense. But you might have overmixed it a bit, which would develop the gluten in the flour and make the finished cake tough. That's the only answer I--and my mother, who I just called to ask--can imagine...

2:03 PM, September 12, 2005  
Anonymous Tracy said...

i *love* this cake...and in fact made one tonight, with the summer's best berries, just to keep in the freezer.
since i always freeze fresh berries during this time of year, do you think this cake would work as well with frozen raspberries/blueberries?
Thanks, and congratulations on the wedding!

6:10 PM, July 16, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the cake, Tracy! I just made one too - last Sunday, I think - and stashed it in the freezer. To answer your question about using frozen berries, I think it should work just fine. It might take a teensy bit longer to bake, but otherwise, it should be the same. If you try it, let me know...

10:24 PM, July 18, 2007  
Blogger Mama Peanut said...

I just tried this last night with frozen raspberries and blackberries. I also realized - after I'd already mixed the eggs and the sugar together - that I didn't have any kirsch, so I substituted some pomegranate blueberry juice instead. Despite these two whopping substitutions, it turned out to be delicious! A new family favorite already. I let the berries defrost for 30 minutes before adding them. The baking time of 1 hour 25 minutes was perfect.

7:37 AM, September 26, 2008  
Blogger nancey said...

I'm dying to try this recipe and WILL, but what is Kirsch? I'm sorry so clueless.

12:45 PM, July 17, 2009  
Blogger Molly said...

Nancey, kirsch is a cherry brandy. (Here's a Wikipedia article about it.) Most liquor stores should carry it.

9:10 AM, July 18, 2009  
Blogger Kathy said...

Hi - I first tried this recipe which was published in the book, but there was a typo. The book recipe called for 2.5 cups of butter, and needless to say, I had to toss the finished er unfinished product!! Now that I have the correct measurement I'm going to try it using blackberries (as suggested in the book).


11:17 AM, August 26, 2009  
Anonymous Juliann D said...

I had to try this recipe after seeing it in your book. If the finished cake tastes as good as the batter did, it will be fabulous. We are lucky enough to harvest more than 10 quarts of blackberries from our woods each year and I never know what to do with them besides jam and pie. I would love it if you would add some more recipes that use them if you have any.

6:37 AM, October 23, 2009  
Blogger dawnmaria said...

After reading this recipe in the book, I HAD to make it w/blackberries for my hubby. He loves blackberries. This is w/o a doubt the best pound cake ever! Thanks so much! Can't wait to experiment with other berry combinations!

7:30 PM, December 06, 2009  
Blogger kookiegoddess said...

oh wow I've just made a bit of a mess of this recipe - did in the mixer because that's where I make all my cakes and wasn't concentrating on that first instruction... forgot to adapt my usual flour to make into cake flour, and added a squeeze of lemon because the batter seemed heavy. Anyway I hope it's not too awful, batter tastes good anyway. Will make it again if I have to!

3:26 AM, January 23, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just made a winter version with great success. Substitute cranberries for summer berries (I used frozen, thawed under hot water). Substitute 1 Tbl rum and 1 Tbl vanilla for the Kirsch. When cake is cool, pour warm meyer lemon glaze over (or not). I improvised the glaze, did not measure: Mix juice of one meyer lemon & powdered sugar together over low heat. Add enough powdered sugar to get it to a syrup consistency. It will soak into the cake, permeating it with moist, citrusy deliciousness. I will add that making this in the food processor really works well--the instruction not to overblend is crucial. This cake came out so tender & delectable--thanks for the recipe!

10:54 AM, December 30, 2010  
Blogger missberil said...

I've made this cake last night just after reading the chapter in your book (yes I bought the kindle edition recently and I think it is such a nice reading!). I literally stopped reading and went to kitchen to do the cake! It was delicious! I brought it with me today to work and everybody loved it! Thanks and cheers from Turkey! xxx

1:43 AM, August 16, 2011  
Blogger Hooney Macarooney said...

Molly, I've been reading you book and was really inspired to try out the Blueberry Raspberry cake. But I found the cake very dense and eggy. What do you think could have possibly gone wrong?
I live in India, I don't suppose the eggs could have been that way, eggy I mean.

4:41 AM, February 22, 2012  
Blogger Molly said...

Hooney Macarooney, that's so disappointing! I've never had this one turn out eggy for me, but I have heard that complaint sometimes about pound cakes in general. This recipe has fewer eggs than many other pound cake recipes, so I don't think I would get rid of any of them, and I also think their presence is important for texture. I wish I knew what to tell you! One question: is it any less eggy after sitting for a day or so? I've made other egg-rich desserts (like meringue, for instance) that tasted and smelled very eggy on the first day, but mellowed out on the second.

12:09 PM, February 22, 2012  
Blogger Ellen Kubo said...

I just finished reading your book and couldn't resist trying this recipe. The recipe in the book indicates a baking time of 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours. The toothpick came up clean at the 1 hour, 5 minute mark but the cake fell apart when I tried to get it out of the pan. When I read the recipe on this site, it showed a baking time of 1 hour, 25 minutes. Is that the correct time? Also, I didn't have kirsch, but I did have an airline sized bottle of Chambord, which I used instead and it tasted fine. Can't wait to try your other recipes. Thanks.

2:13 PM, August 01, 2013  
Blogger Molly said...

Ellen, I am so sorry for this slow reply! Your comment somehow was caught by my spam filter. Apologies. In any case, the baking time in the book is correct, so I'm not sure what went wrong! I wish I could be more helpful. The baking time for the recipe here on the blog is longer because you don't preheat the oven ahead of time, a recipe quirk that I thought better of when I retested and reworked the recipe for the book...

10:06 PM, August 09, 2013  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Just delicious! Used frozen blackberries and fresh raspberries. Omitted kirsch, and replaced with 1 tsp each of lemon and vanilla extract. Took longer to bake...approx 1 &1/2 hours. Turned heat up to 350 for last 10 min because it didnt appear to be browning. Absolutely light texture, with perfect amount of sweetness! Love your blog! Just purchased your first book at the great February discounted rate on Amazon.

12:03 PM, February 13, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going to make & freeze a bunch of these because we have alot of blueberries. What is the best way to defrost if it's frozen in Saran & freezer bag?

12:43 PM, June 19, 2014  
Blogger Lindsay Frucci said...

I'm dying to try this but is it crazy that I can't find a 9 CUP bundt pan anywhere? Even on the web! They all seem to be 10 cup or 9 1/2 inch. I know that I can use a 10 cup, but I don't want a skimpy cake. What am I missing??

12:39 PM, June 25, 2014  

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