Last week we produced a holiday photo shoot based on this inspiration, and ever since, blackberries have been having a major moment with me…their deep, moody hue is such a welcome contrast to the bright, neon palettes of the last couple of months. Of course, blackberries themselves are quintessentially summer, and I’ve been buying them en masse with every trip to the grocery – scattering them on top of greek yogurt and oatmeal in the morning, over ice cream at night. I came across a recipe for the most simple, tender one-layer buttermilk cake in last month’s Food & Wine, made a few tweaks and threw handfuls of blackberries & blueberries into the batter. It’s crazy how fast it disappeared from the house…definitely a keeper, and next time I may try a blackberry & nectarine combo. Keep reading for more images and the recipe! 

Serving with freshly-whipped cream and more fresh berries on the side is a definite must.

The berries keep the batter super moist and add bursts of tart and sweet.

Summer Berry & Buttermilk Cake

*serves 8


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup blueberries & blackberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Butter a 9-inch-round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter with the 2/3 cup of sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla and lemon zest. At low speed, beat in the buttermilk and dry ingredients in 3 alternating batches, ending with the dry ingredients; do not overbeat. Gently fold the batter just until blended, then scrape into the pan and smooth the top.
  3. Scatter the berries over the batter; lightly press them in. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar over the cake. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Transfer the cake to a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Turn out the cake and remove the paper. Turn the cake right side up and let cool completely. Serve with whipped cream and more fresh berries.

*photos by Camille

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Comments (15)
  1. 1
    Debra July 31, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Beautiful and appetizing.

  2. 2
    Clara July 31, 2012 at 7:25 am

    I’m utterly addicted to buttermilk cakes right now. Joy has an incredible one in her cookbook, I’ve already made two versions of it this summer- one with a blueberry sauce, and one with a strawberry cream cheese frosting- so I can certainly relate to your berry addiction! xx

  3. 3
    Katherine Sacks July 31, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I love this silverware – so elegantly comforting. I’m into berries right now too! Even just cutting a blackberry up into my glass of water for a little tart flavor. And I recently foraged mulberries (!) and made this floral Mulberry Sipper

  4. 4
    Alyssa July 31, 2012 at 8:57 am

    This looks so yummy. I always love the simplicity of buttermilk cakes, and the berries are such a nice seasonal touch!

    The Glossy Life

  5. 5
    Aunt Lez July 31, 2012 at 9:42 am

    i’m making it but adding some flax and pecans…hey you are getting seriously good at photos chick! that is important because i want ‘many’ photos of our girl, Phoebs, when she arrives on the scene. thanks for the cake recipe! your great grandmother Pauline would have also loved it and made it immediately to have with hot tea and lemon 🙂 .

  6. 6
    Alison July 31, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Now I have a great reason to use the buttermilk sitting in my frig!! Thank you!

  7. 7
    Jessica McSweeney July 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I probably shouldn’t have read this while I’m starving — such beautiful images and I love how simple yet luxe the cake feels. Yum yum yum!

  8. 8
    Amy July 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    This looks so good, I love all things buttermilk.

  9. 9
    Rossana August 2, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I am going to make this tonight. Quick question for you, where are your dessert dishes from? Is this your everyday set? I am in the market for new everyday dishes and don’t know where to begin…

    Looks yummy!

    • Camille Styles August 2, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Wonderful – let me know how it goes! These plates are from West Elm – I use them all the time!

      • Rossana August 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm

        Thank you for your quick response. I will check it out online right now.

  10. 10
    M August 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    I made this for dessert tonight and it was yummy. I didn’t have any whip cream, so I served it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

  11. 11
    Sue August 12, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    can i make this w/ dried cherries?

  12. 12
    Carla August 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    This cake is delicious! Such a light sweet treat!

  13. 13
    Susan Smith March 16, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Looks really good!
    One question:
    I usually forget to get baking soda so what can i use instead of it?