Uncomplicated Fruit-Topped Yellow Cake

May Day, May Day, come in…

Blueberries in trouble…

Need life-raft to keep them afloat…

Do you copy?

Indeed, this simple cake bears the name of “Uncomplicated Fruit-Topped Yellow Cake.” But I had a slight, uh, complication.

Oh, nothing major. Just a case of sinking blueberries. Not as dire as what happened to the Titanic, that’s for sure. But still, a little annoying.

After all, when the cake is described as “fruit-topped,” you figure the fruit will stay, well, on top.

Not in the case of these berries. But next time, I’ll just be sure to toss them in a little flour before adding them to the batter, even if the original recipe didn’t call for that step. And there will be a next time. Aside for the berries’ losing struggle to stay afloat, this cake was perfect. Tender, moist, like a giant blueberry muffin, actually.

The recipe comes from one of my all-time fave baking books, “The Weekend Baker” (W.W. Norton) by Abigail Johnson Dodge, who studied pastry-making at La Varenne in Paris.

The cake can be made with any manner of fruit, such as raspberries, sliced apricots, plums or — yes — blueberries.

Even if they end up sinking, all it takes is a swift movement of your fork to your mouth to get them in the right place.

Uncomplicated Fruit-Topped Yellow Cake

(Makes one 9-inch cake, or 8 servings)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon table salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup whole milk

For the topping, choose ONE:

1/2 pint berries (blueberries or raspberries), rinsed and well dried (then, tossed in a little flour and set aside),

1 medium ripe plum, peach, apricot or nectarine, pitted and thinly slices,


1 medium ripe pear or apple, peeled, thinly sliced, and tossed with 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cinnamon

Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan and line bottom with parchment. Lightly grease and flour parchment, and flour the sides, tapping out the excess.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer (stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or hand-held mixer) on medium-high heat until smooth. Add 1 cup of the sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until well blended. Add milk and mix just until blended. Add remaining flour mixture and mix just until blended.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Choose one of the topping options and arrange the fruit on top of the batter. Sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer cake pan to a rack to cool for 15 minutes.

Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Using a thick, dry dish towel to protect your hands, invert a large flat plate on top of the cake pan and, holding both the pan and the plate, invert them together. Lift the pan off the cake. Invert a flat serving plate on the bottom of the cake and flip the cake one more time so that the fruit is on the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Storage: Cover cooled cake in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 24 hours.

Adapted from “The Weekend Baker” by Abigail Johnson Dodge

More: Peach Blueberry Cake

More: Blueberry Coffee Cake

Another Recipe from “The Weekend Baker”: 10-Minute Mocha Pots de Creme

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