My parents are gardeners.
And by "gardeners," I don't mean that they have a couple of those upside-down tomato contraptions hanging off their porch.
What I mean is that they tear up the yard every couple of years to rotate their dozen or so planting zones. That my dad spends the winter welding heavy-duty tomato cages and sketching out new plans while my mom organizes seeds, etc.
They are gardeners, and have been since before I was born. I get the impression, from the stories they tell, that gardening was a sort of mating dance for them, before they were mom and dad.
I can picture them: my mom, with her sensible short hair and not-as-sensible short shorts, playing Tupelo Honey in an endless loop while she dug in the dirt outside their back door; my dad, with his long hair and hand-cut "shortie pants," building a garden fence out of some scrap he found. They tore up a parking lot one spring with their best friends, by hand, and replaced it with a community garden.
This is all to say that despite the scandalously brief northern summers, my parents always coaxed a bounty of fresh produce out of their little piece of ground. For about ten years, that bounty included raspberries.
The raspberry garden was thick with canes, and when it was time to pick them my brothers and I would put on pants and flannel shirts to protect our skin from the velcro-like prickers. We would fill ice cream buckets with the fruit, working in the early evening just after supper -- that magical hour when the sun was no longer hot and the bugs were not yet thick.
My mom made jam from most of the raspberries, but she always set aside a bowl for each of us. We would eat them, still warm from the sun, with cold half-and-half poured on top. The simplest of desserts, we looked forward to it all year.
I wanted to create a cake that would capture the taste of those mid-July days in Wisconsin. Fresh raspberries, vanilla and whole milk combine in a bundt cake that does just that. The raspberries, despite being baked into a cake, taste just picked, and the flavor of the cake itself surrounds them with just the right amount of sweetness. I think you will find it is the next best thing to having a raspberry garden outside your back door.
It is essential that you use the freshest, plumpest raspberries you can find for this recipe, as well as fresh whole milk and pure vanilla extract. The flavor of the cake relies on these ingredients being top quality.
Raspberries and Cream Bundt Cake
- 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 4 lg. eggs
- 2 t. pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 c. whole milk
- 2 c. fresh raspberries, gently washed and dried
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat in one at a time. Add vanilla and milk and mix well, scraping the bowl often.
Add the flour mixture in three additions, mixing each until just combined and scraping the bowl often.
Gently stir in the raspberries.
Pour batter into a well-greased bundt pan. Bake about one hour or until cake tests done.
Invert cake onto a cooling rack while it is still warm.