Butter Cake Just Got *Way* Better, Thanks to This Smarty-Pants Trick

My style of summer baking is simpler than at other times of the year. Unlike the holidays (when I break out rich and decadent dessert recipes) or autumn (when I crave time in the kitchen, turning to complicated yeasted breads), now is when I want easy but satisfying recipes. I want to be baking in the sun at the beach, not in a hot kitchen—but I still love the meditative ritual of baking, so I do it anyway.

If you're like me, now's the time to turn to recipes that make the most of summer produce without obscuring the bright, ripe, fresh flavors. Look for recipes that don't require a million bowls or steps. Find recipes that are worth turning the oven on for, like today's raspberry peach butter cake.

I'm a delicious, gooey vehicle for nature's gifts. Photo by Posie Brien

This cake is an excellent example of a way to elevate perfect summer produce. I use raspberries and peaches, but any stone fruit or berry will work nicely. You could use all berries if you like: a mix of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries is wonderful.

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At first glance, the recipe looks like a basic butter cake. But it's not! The blank canvas of a butter cake is a fantastic foil for fruit, but I've tweaked the master template a bit to create a cake with a little more flavor in the batter. For the liquid, I use a mix of coconut milk and regular milk (whole or 2% are best). A touch of nutmeg adds a tiny bit of spice to the batter along with vanilla bean paste (you can use vanilla extract instead).

Use any berry or stone fruit here. Photo by Posie Brien

But the best part of this recipe is the crumb: tender and moist, it sticks pleasingly to your fork and keeps beautifully over a day or two. To achieve such a good texture, I use part butter and part fresh goat cheese. Creaming the fresh goat cheese with the butter and sugar gives the cake great moisture and also adds a slight tangy flavor.

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Top Comment:
“I object to the use of the word "elevate". Baked goods can offer different ways to present fruits (and other ingredients), but a peach pie is not better than a peach, it's just different.”
— Smaug

Make this cake your weekend plan. Stop at the farm stand, or the market, or the grocery store, and pick whatever fruit looks best. Bake it, and revel in the simple and fleeting pleasure of peak fruit season. And cake season—because it's always cake season.

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What summer produce will you use in this cake? Let us know in the comments!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • GingerBear
  • Smaug
I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.


GingerBear July 18, 2018
I am unclear on “the smarty-pants trick,” as we have the general description that this cake has more flavor than normal due to the a) use of coconut milk mixed with dairy milk, b) use of nutmeg and vanilla, and c) use of goat cheese. What is the (which means one) smarty pants trick? Is the “trick” that a cake with additional flavorings will have a stronger flavor than one without? Is it the use of coconut milk and spices? Or is the trick the goat cheese? This article might have made more sense without the headline. With it, I am baffled.
Smaug July 15, 2018
I object to the use of the word "elevate". Baked goods can offer different ways to present fruits (and other ingredients), but a peach pie is not better than a peach, it's just different.