“All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.”
- L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams
I've just returned from vacation to the Oregon coast, and Grants Pass, Oregon on the Rogue River. It was fabulous. We had such a great time, relaxing, sight seeing, frolicking in the water, exploring small towns, and eating well. At every stop the weather was perfect. The places we stayed, we were welcomed with exuberance. It was a magical trip.
|Much of the Oregon Coast is undeveloped, and gorgeous|
My favorite day of our trip,we kayaked all day on the Rogue River. Not just kayaked, we got out and swam in the river. At some points I got out of the boat and floated down the river, it was so fun. There were places where we would "pull over" to the shore. We were going up stream, then down stream, up and down a few times. So to go up stream, once we hit the rapids, (not really big rapids, but still rapids) of course it's impossible to paddle against that. So we would pull the kayak over, and walk it up stream, past the rapids.
|Some of the many geese that live on the Rogue River|
I got back to the room and put some of those berries in a bowl, added a packet of sugar (meant for our morning coffee) and added 3 or 4 of those little half and half creamers that were in our fridge (also meant for coffee) to enjoy my second berry snack sweetened with cream.
|Some of the wild blackberries I picked in Oregon mixed with some frozen blueberries to make the compote for this cake|
I took the rest of the berries home, added some blueberries I had in the freezer, and made a compote that tops this cake.
|Spreading the cream cheese layer on top of the cake layer|
This cake has the flavors of a cream cheese danish, but in a cake. The cake itself is rich and buttery, topped with lemony cream cheese, then brown sugar crumb topping and finally topped with the slightly tart berry compote.
|The crumb topping goes on top of the cream cheese layer|
It's really delicious. Perfect for a weekend brunch.
|The berry compote thickens to almost a jam|
If you haven't picked some wild berries lately, you can use almost any type of berry, or even another type of fruit. Raspberries would be awesome, peaches or plums sound equally amazing.
|Ready for the oven|
I'm glad the berries I picked turned into something so scrumptious!
Forever I will look back at this recipe with a special fondness.
For the Cake
2 1/4 cup (337g.) flour
1/2 cup (100 g.) sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (118 ml) whole milk, soured by adding 1 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar and let sit on the counter for 5 minutes
4 Tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) (113 g.) melted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the Berry Compote
about 3 cups (about a pint and a half) (18 oz) or (510 g.) berries (I used blackberries and blueberries)
1/4 cup (50 g.) sugar (more or less depending on the sweetness of the fruit)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Cream Cheese Layer
1 - 8 oz package (227 g.) of cream cheese at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup (50 g.) sugar
The zest from one lemon - done on a microplane is best to get it very fine
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the Crumb Mixture
1 cup (150 g.) flour
1 cup (150 g.) packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, (1 stick) (113 g.) , melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4.
Grease a 9x13 pan, set aside.
Start by making the berry compote. Add all of the ingredients of the compote, to a saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring frequently until it's thickened, about 20 minutes or so. You want it thick, but not quite as thick as jam, it shouldn't be as sweet as jam, so it serves as the slightly tart component with the sweet cake and crumb mixture. Taste it to see if it tastes good, if it's super tart add a little more sugar. While that's cooking, start making the cake.
To make the cake: In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. The flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. The egg, melted butter, sour cream (or yogurt), soured milk, and vanilla extract.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir them together until incorporated. The batter will be thick. Spread the cake batter into the greased pan.
Make the cream cheese layer- Stir together all of the ingredients for the cream cheese layer, and spread it on top of the cake layer.
Make the Crumb Mixture - Add the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon to a large bowl and stir. Add the melted butter and stir until crumbs form. Crumble the mixture over the cream cheese layer.
Now add the berry compote to the top. Spoon the berry mixture over the crumbs in 4 wide strips down the cake, so that some of the crumbs still show.
Bake the cake for about 25-35 minutes in the preheated oven. You want the cake portion to be done, of course. The rest will set up while it's cooling. Use the tip of a knife or a toothpick inserted in the center. If you don't get any cake batter on it, then it's done.
Let it set up before you slice it, on the counter for a few hours or in the fridge for an hour or so, till it's room temperature.
I would store this cake in the fridge, covered, since it has the cream cheese. But I would serve it at room temperature.