Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project : Blackberry & Walnut Coffeecake

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I've spent a number of years being a best friend/amateur therapist to several young men and one woman who were addicted to "complicated" women. Some would call them "crazy", but I prefer to use a word that's just as judgmental when you say it in quotes and in a certain tone. When I'd look back at the countless hours I spent over the years listening to detailed accounts of crazy, I admit I used to shake my head in bewilderment. This delicious amazing coffeecake changed all that.

I feel like I should tell you - this is a bittersweet love story. See, I think I may have met my "complicated" woman.

Now you'll look through this recipe and wonder what I mean, because really it's a pretty simple, pretty awesome cake. But in less than 24 hours, this cake has come to make me realize that something beautiful can also be a real pain in the ass. You could even say this cake and I were doomed from the beginning. The fact that I forgot to defrost my berries over night so that I could bake the coffeecake for breakfast may lead you to say that the timing was just wrong. But really it was more than that. Things were going so well while I was blending the ingredients and filling our angel food cake spring pan. The Blackberry & Walnut filling was so good it was hard to not just sit down with a bowl of those berries and skip the cake altogether. While I sat typing away, waiting for this cake to get ready (bake), the warm vanilla fragrance that filled our home held the promise of true love. Then as I pulled this wonderful cake from the oven, I bumped my elbow on our kitchen island and dropped the pan. It flipped in midair like a freaking circus performer, and using reflexes that I can only describe as 'spidey*', I caught half of the cake in my skirt and the pan with the other half of the cake still in there with my other hand.

The cake that tried to get away.
The other half that was saved was less than pretty, but still absolutely freaking great. I debated just making this again, trying to undo what was done, but that's not how relationships work, is it? You can't just try again and pretend like nothing happened. The other thing is that this a real blog about real people really cooking their way through The Betty Crocker Cookbook, and this really happened. It's dumb, wasteful and sketchy to rebake another cake just so I can pretend everything I do is perfect and like I've never dropped a cake on my dress. I mean do I have to have a pretty picture when I can tell you this recipe works and is wonderful using the real photos from this really great cake. Don't believe me? You still need photographic proof?

A peak at the Blackberry & Walnut Filling.
Also yesterday was Geek Pride Day! Yes. Yesterday in 1977, Star Wars IV - A New Hope was released and no one was ever the same again...

Let's bake some cake.

Blackberry & Walnut Coffeecake
Blackberry Filling
  • 1 1/2 Cup Blackberries (defrosted frozen Blackberries - you'll need the juice so include that in your filling mix)
  • 1/2 Cup Walnuts (crushed)
  • 2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon (ground)
  • 2 1/4 Cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Cup Margarine
  • 1 teaspoon French Vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons Applesauce
  • 8 Tablespoons Vegan Sour Cream
  • Baking Spray
Blackberry Glaze
  • 1 1/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Blackberry Juice (this is leftover juice after you put the berries in a cake - it will make sense when you read the directions)

Heat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix Blackberry & Walnut Filling with a large spoon.

In another large bowl, mix Flour, Baking Soda and Baking Powder with a whisk. Then in another large bowl, mix Margarine, Vanilla, Sugar, Vegan Sour Cream and Applesauce with an electric hand held mixer on a high setting until completely blended and smooth. Then using a spatula to scrap the sides, add the Applesauce mix to the Flour mix and then blend with your hand held mixer on a medium setting until it is completely blended and smooth.

Spray a fluted angel food cake pan evenly with Baking Spray.

Then press half of your cake batter into the pan making an even layer. Use a soup spoon to create a small ring indention in the batter. Try to keep an even edge of batter on both sides of the little canal you are creating. Then spoon the Blackberries & Walnuts from your Filling mix into the canal using a slotted spoon so not too much spiced juice gets in the batter. Then put the rest of the batter in the pan making an even layer. It should look like this going into the oven.

It's OK if some Blackberry Juice sneaks out... I mean it will just swirl into the cake and be awesome.
You're going to bake your cake for 45 to 55 minutes or until you can remove a bamboo skewer cleanly from the center of the cake. When you pull the cake out of the oven don't drop it into your dress, instead put it on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes and then remove your cake from the pan and then let it cool for another hour.

While your cake is cooling, make your glaze by mixing Powdered Sugar with 4 Tablespoons of the spiced Blackberry Juice leftover from making the Filling. Use a whisk to make sure all the clumps get blended in. If you feel like your glaze is a little runny add more Powdered Sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Once your Coffeecake is room temperature, drizzle glaze over the top of the cake and let cool for another 20 minutes.

I would suggest you do what the name suggests and enjoy this with some coffee or tea and on a plate... Though the portion I ate from my dress was actually kinda lovely.

In case this story made you sad. Here's some flowers :

We're hanging out in The Shannon Kitchen right now.

* Maybe I should have gone with Jedi.


  1. I'm so happy to read this; I thought I was the only person who sometimes winds up elbow deep (or worse) in a mess. Also, the cake looks great.

  2. Oh Annie, even the crumbled mess of cake you photographed looked freaking delicious! I actually thought, "Ooh, there's a trifle begging to be made." :)
    I've tripped putting mini cupcakes into the oven and more than half the batter ended up inside the oven, all over the walls of it, the floor of it and the door of it. Arrgh! I was NOT a happy camper.
    The 'finished' cake looks lovely. I'm going to bake this for my family, perhaps even this weekend.
    Thank you for another great post. :)

  3. OH MAN - Cake batter in the oven! I'm so sorry... but it makes for a great story! :)

    I hope you like this cake. We loved it and have been enjoying it for breakfast this week. If you make it - please send me a picture so we can add it to The Family Album we have on the Family Tree page. :)