Giving Love to Summer Fruit

August 31, 2009


I leave for a week and come back to find that it’s the end of August.  End of August?  It has been many many years since I was on a school schedule, but I can’t help feeling like fall starts September 1st.

Our vacation was a little rough.  On the whole, my family is very healthy.  My brother Alex is prone to needing surgery (seriously, the guy has had over 10 surgeries and is only 35), but other than that, we are very rarely sick.  For some reason, Sun Valley is the place where our immune systems fail us.  Monday afternoon my brother Michael started to feel unwell and soon after I felt rotten too.  I’ll spare you all the details but 6 of 11 of us came down with stomach flu and my brother and nephew ended up in the hospital needing fluids.  Of my immediate family, only my 2 year old was spared which is a good thing in retrospect.

By the time we were all feeling back to normal, we only had two days left but we tried to make the most of it.  My anniversary fell on the worst night of the plague but Randy and I were able to celebrate 7 years together a few nights later at one of our favorite spots.  He took the boys to Redfish Lake – an incomparably beautiful spot – but I was unable to make it.  I mostly just hung out.  I did get my baked potato and it was huge and delicious.

This is the time of year when I start to feel summer pressure.  I know fall is coming and yet there are so many light and summery recipes I didn’t get to.  I must use corn and nectarines everyday…or so I feel.  Before the nights get too cool and before the berries disappear from the markets, make this Mixed Berry Spoon Cake.  You can vary the fruit, it’s easy, it feeds a crowd, and you can put your summer fruit guilt to rest.

One Year Ago:  For Once, Not About Food – one of my very favorite posts

Mixed Berry Spoon Cake
Adapted from Food and Wine
Serves 8-10

To vary the filling here, use 4 pounds of stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, and apricots) cut into large wedges; or 4 pounds of plums, cut into 1-inch cubes; or 6 pints of blueberries plus 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.  (DT:  I used half blueberries and half raspberries.)

4 pints strawberries (2 pounds), hulled and quartered
2 pints blackberries (12 ounces)
2 pints raspberries (12 ounces)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

1.  Make the filling.  In a bowl, toss the berries with the sugar and the cornstarch and let stand for 10 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile make the batter:  Preheat the oven to 375°F.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt.  In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk and vanilla.  Whisk the liquid into the dry ingredients until even moistened, then whisk in the melted butter until smooth.

3.  Spread the filling in a 9-by-13-inch  baking dish.  Spoon the batter on top, leaving small gaps.  Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and a toothpick inserted into the topping comes out clean.  Let cool for 1 hour before serving.


  1. So sad to hear about most of you all getting sick. And time does fly so fast and now it’s end of August indeed. The mixed berry spoon cake looks and sounds delicious!

    Comment by veron — September 1, 2009 @ 1:53 am

  2. I know what you mean…there are so many summer recipes on my list that I havent yet made! now this one is going in that list too :) I like the blueberry/raspberry combo. How do you store this cake?

    Glad to hear that you are all feeling better :)

    Comment by veggiebelly — September 1, 2009 @ 6:20 pm

  3. I’m so sorry to hear that you were sick on vacation. Love your dessert :)

    Comment by Hélène — September 1, 2009 @ 8:10 pm

  4. I am so sorry your family got sick. That is no fun. I hope everyone is well now. This dessert looks fabulous, great way to end the summer!

    Comment by Maria — September 1, 2009 @ 9:22 pm

  5. Sorry that you were not well…the summer dessert looks so yummie with all the berries in it :-)

    Comment by Juliana — September 1, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

  6. Oh no sorry to hear you and your family got sick on your vacation! Happy to have you back though. I’m going to miss the summer fruit! Soon it will be back to apples, pears and oranges. I love how deliciously browned the top of this cake is.

    Comment by Ashley — September 1, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

  7. I’m sitting here thinking I’d like to go to Idaho just for a potato! This cake looks like a lovely use of summer fruits, and it must smell amazing in the oven.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — September 1, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

  8. So sorry to hear that so many of you were under the weather; especially all the best to those who required a hospital stay! Thank goodness that your littlest was spared.

    I have woken up sick today, getting progressively worse as the day’s gone on. Even though I am not in a mood to eat, the sight of this lovely cake is rather comforting.

    Comment by tara — September 1, 2009 @ 11:09 pm

  9. Bummer of a vacation! I remember one such vacation in the red Woods when my twins were only 18 months and and my eldest was 2 1/2 years old and we all got the stomach flu! (Yes, I had 3 kids in 1 year. They are now in their twenties) I hope you are all feeling right as rain in the Northwest. I totally get where you are coming from on feeling the pressure to use as much fresh produce as possible this time of year. Here’s to berries! Looks like a delish cake! Be well my friend.

    Comment by Dana Zia — September 2, 2009 @ 12:05 am

  10. Happy Belated Anniversary! Sorry to hear you and your family were sick over the holidays. That cake looks delicious!

    Comment by Tartelette — September 2, 2009 @ 4:54 am

  11. Oh goodness, vacation is no time to get sick! Glad you were able to have a nice anniversary anyhow. This looks delicious and I am getting a ton of raspberries at the farm!

    Comment by fresh365 — September 3, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

  12. Oh goodness, vacation is no time to get sick! Glad you were able to have a nice anniversary anyhow. This looks delicious and I am getting a ton of raspberries at the farm!;…

    Comment by Acevado — September 3, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

  13. This is gorgeous! I had made this cake too from the food & wine & loved every bit of it. Your picture is just very very beautiful!

    Comment by Soma — September 4, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

  14. I know that summer fruit guilt! Glad I’m not the only one to feel it.

    Comment by The Leftoverist — September 5, 2009 @ 5:11 am

  15. What a sad vacation! Glad you managed some anniversary celebration, we have our 7th coming up soon, too.

    I am sitting here watching the blackberry bushes across the street get rained on. Summer is coming to an abrupt end around here isn’t it? Thanks for the reminder to hurry up and bake them into a yummy cake. Looks delicious!

    Comment by Mara — September 5, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

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