Test Kitchen: Summer Berry Skillet Cake

by Mara Eyllon on August 13, 2010

This week, the Somerville Bites Test Kitchen is putting an end to the summertime baking conundrum.

There is a plethora of fresh, ripe fruits waiting to be plucked from the stalls of Saturday’s Union Square Farmers Market and baked into warm pies and muffins. But the paralyzing, don’t-turn-the-oven-on heat leaves us resigned to eating cold wedges of watermelon, pushing aside lusty thoughts of warm treats paired with cool milk.

Don’t throw in the oven mitt just yet. This stovetop skillet cake is easy to prepare and is an excellent use of summer fruits that avoids turning the kitchen into a sauna.

This cake is moist, dense and buttery, flecked with deep crimson and purple berries, topped with a hearty layer of sweetened farmers market fruits, caramelized in their own sweet nectar, butter and sugar. Try substituting peaches or blackberries for the blueberries and raspberries featured here.


Yields 6-8 servings

For the Cake Batter

1 stick sweet butter (softened)

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream (available at Market Basket on the cheap)

¾ pint blueberries and raspberries

For the Fruit Mixture

1 stick sweet butter

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ pint blueberries and raspberries

Cooking Implements

Large bowl

Medium Bowl

9 inch skillet w/ lid



Measuring cups and spoons

Oven mitts

Preparation of Fruit Topping

Rinse fruits, strain excess water and set aside while preparing other ingredients.

Preparation of Batter

In the large bowl mix softened butter and sugar until thoroughly incorporated. Add two eggs, vanilla extract and whisk until evenly mixed. Stir in yogurt and set aside.

In the medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Slowly pour flour mixture into the wet ingredients, continuing to mix until batter is smooth in consistency. Stir in fruit. It’s okay if the berries break apart. Set batter aside.

Set the stove heat to low and melt a stick of butter in the skillet. Once butter has melted, stir in sugar. Place berries into butter and sugar mixture until it is covered in a single layer of berries

Allow berries to cook for five minutes or so in butter mixture. Use spatula to delicately spread a few tablespoons of batter at a time, until all of the fruit is covered with batter. Cover the skillet and cook for about 40 minutes on low heat.

Remove the cake from heat and allow it to cool for 15 minutes. You’ll need help transferring the warm cake from the skillet in one piece, so grab a friend and have him place a serving plate over the skillet while using oven mitts to grab the handle and flip over directly onto the plate. Don’t worry if some of the berry topping sticks to the skillet, this is a rustic summer cake, demur and beautiful in all its imperfection. Enjoy as is, with a hot espresso or cool vanilla ice cream.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Oriana September 3, 2010 at 8:59 AM

That cake was so delicious! Especially with chinese food from Wangs for dessert!

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