Springtime in Mongolia meant every kind of weather. Recently, this similarity to Chignik Lake has seemed to be especially true. A few days ago the lunchtime thermometer read 42 degrees under sunny skies and only a few patches of a deep snow that had blanked the landscape remained. We were inspired to go for a Honda ride to look for whatever new growth we might find. That was a few days ago…
Yesterday, we awoke to drizzly rain that morphed into melty, wet snow. Next thing we knew, we were immersed in a blizzard that blanketed us in again in a winter wonderland. This morning, the new day greeted us with broken skies, gusts of wind, a thermometer registering a chilly 16°, and new skim ice near the shoreline.
The warmth streaming in through our windows a few days ago prompted thoughts of summer – fishing, berry picking, mushroom hunting, boating, and the like. But the honda ride confirmed that even though the warmth of the sun is returning, the land is still in a deep wintery slumber. The blizzard kept me indoors, antsy – I really wanted a taste of summer, even though I know it is still months away. There is nothing more evocative of Alaskan summers than berries. Last year, we picked gallons of wild berries and carefully preserved them in our freezer – blueberries, raspberries, salmonberries, wineberries and lingonberries. Lately, I’ve been favoring the blueberries to top my oatmeal or to mix in with homemade yogurt. But to satisfy my craving for a summer creation, I found myself drawn to the beautiful, multi-colored gems that are salmonberries. They have a tangy, sweet-sour flavor that pairs perfectly with almond – an ingredient I wanted to feature.
I was very happy with how this cake turned out. The diminutive dessert was just right for the two of us to share. The berries baked into the batter, retaining their jewel-like beauty. The cake was delectably moist. The flavors incorporated the lovely balance of natural sweet and sour. Each bite was complimented by the crumbly sweet almond topping. Full disclosure – it was intended for two desserts. We managed to finish the whole thing off in one delicious fell swoop.
Salmonberry Sour Cream Crumble Cake for Four (Or two. Or one.)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- Pinch salt
- 1 extra large egg (1 1/2 large eggs)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 1/2 cups salmonberries (if frozen, let thaw and drain off extra liquid)
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F (180C).
- Line bottom of 7-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Grease the sides of the pan with butter. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together topping ingredients. Stir with a fork until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
- For the cake, in another bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, mix together eggs, sour cream and almond extract.
- Add flour mixture for cake into the egg mixture. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Pour batter into prepared springform pan.
- Top with salmonberries.
- Sprinkle crumble mixture evenly over berry layer.
- Bake until topping is golden brown the the center is cooked, about 40 minutes. Test this with a toothpick. It should come out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
- Let cake cool on wire rack in the pan for 20 minutes before removing springform sides.
- Cut into slices and serve warm or at room temperature.