The blackberries are early this year. By weeks, at least – usually we catch them (if we’re lucky) only at the very end of our trip, around mid-August. But this year we arrived to find the first few already hanging heavy on their vines, and we’ve discovered a few spots where we fill our empty coffee cups, sand pails or whatever containers we can rummage from the car each day.
I learned, from experience and the book I’m blissfully in the middle of reading, that some blackberry vines produce fruit and others – the thick, spiky ones – act as the first line of defense, reaching out beyond the edges of the thicket to grab at your clothes and skin as you reach for ripe berries. The darkest, sweetest ones will all but leap into your fingers-I taught W if they resist, even a little, to leave them for next time. The beauty of a blackberry bush is that they don’t all ripen at once, supplying a steady stream of fruit over the summer.
(Pardon the hasty iPhone photos I took five minutes before heading out to dinner, cutting into the cake while it was still warm in order to taste it before we left, in case it was gone by the time we got back. With 15 people in the house, an even split of kids and adults, you never know.)
This morning there were brown sugar, blackberry + white chocolate scones; this afternoon I slid a lemon blackberry pound cake into the oven, made with butter from D Dutchmen Dairy and eggs from Nanoose Bay. Lemons and blackberries together are magic.
It’s a simple batter to stir together – just what I need in the middle of summer. It would be equally fantastic with raspberries or blueberries, and is perfect to slice for hungry beach-goers in the late afternoon, or top with a dollop of whipped cream for a fancier dessert.
Lemon Blackberry Pound Cake
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen (don’t thaw them) blackberries, raspberries or blueberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, stir together the butter and sugar, stir in the eggs, lemon zest and juice until well blended.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add half to the butter mixture, stir just until combined, then stir in the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Gently fold in the blackberries.
Scrape the batter into a greased or parchment-lined 8×4-inch loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. If you like, stir together the lemon juice and icing sugar and drizzle over the cake while still warm.