Unlike last year, when the Fourth of July was a brief respite from a busy, busy month, I have a full week off for Independence Day this year. It’s the closest to an old-school summer vacation I’ve had in a while, and you have every right to be extremely jealous.
However, just like last year (and earlier this summer), when looking for dessert ideas for this week’s festivities, I turned to berries and yogurt. Berries were a no-brainer. Sure, there are plenty of other red, white and blue sweets out there, but too many of them rely on weird food coloring. Why use dyes or chemicals when summer’s bounty hands you ruby and sapphire gems in the form of raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries?
There are plenty of options when considering the “white” part of Fourth of July desserts. Whipped cream is the easiest, but many desserts use cheesecake, cream cheese frosting, ice cream or even meringues to form the snowy base upon which the berries lie. But my favorite pairing with berries is yogurt — whether for breakfast, a snack or dessert, I love the way tart-sweet berries pair with thick, creamy yogurt. And since it’s often used to lighten up otherwise heavy cheesecakes or sheet cakes, it seems a natural fit for summertime.
This berry yogurt cake takes advantage of both yogurt and a cream cheese frosting, and uses berries twice — in the cake as well as in the garnish. The end result is a gorgeously colorful, intensely flavorful cake, both sweet from the frosting and tart from the berries, with a rich crumb from the yogurt. It gets points for presentation too, as the raspberries and blueberries scattered on top look like patriotic little polka dots. I guarantee it’ll be an instant crowd-pleaser at your Fourth of July cookouts and picnics this week, and if I’m wrong, you can drop off the leftovers at my house kthanksbye.
Red White and Blue Berry Yogurt Cake
Adapted from Baking Bites
For the cake:
– 2 cups cake flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
– 1 large egg + 1 large egg white
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 1 cup (nonfat) plain Greek yogurt
– 3 ounces fresh blueberries
– 3 ounces fresh raspberries
– cream cheese frosting (recipe below)
– fresh berries, to garnish
1) Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-x-13 baking pan.
2) Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
3) In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and egg white, then stir in the vanilla extract.
4) Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the yogurt and starting and ending with the flour. Use a spatula to stir just until combined after each addition.
5) Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Then fold the raspberries and blueberries into the remaining batter carefully. Spread the berry batter evenly over the plain batter in the cake pan.
6) Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
7) Cool cake for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a serving plate. Let it cool completely before frosting.
For the cream cheese frosting:
– 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
– 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
– 1 tablespoon milk
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1-1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1) Cream the cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar until the frosting is thick and creamy.
2) Once the cake is completely cooled, spread the frosting on top of the cake in an even layer. Top with remaining berries.