Combining blackberries with blackberry preserves for the topping brings out the best in the berries.
- 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk (shake well)
- ¾ cup sweet white dessert wine
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 (3x1-inch) strip fresh orange zest
- ½ cup blackberry preserves without seeds
- 4 cups fresh blackberries (1½ lb.)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a buttered 9x2-inch round cake pan with a round of wax paper, then butter the paper.
- In a bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt and set it aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar and beat until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then, with mixer at low speed, beat in all of the buttermilk until just combined. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing after each addition until just combined.
- Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top, and bake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, and then run a thin sharp knife around edge of cake to loosen. Invert onto rack, and then slide cake onto a cake plate.
- In a saucepan combine the wine, 3 Tablespoons sugar, and zest and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil until the syrup is reduced to about 2/3 cup, 1 to 2 minutes. Discard zest.
- Reserve 2 Tablespoons syrup and pour remainder slowly and evenly over cake (cake will absorb syrup).
- Stir together reserved syrup, preserves, and remaining tablespoon sugar in small saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 1 minute (it should be the consistency of a thick syrup).
- Put blackberries in a large bowl, then pour the preserves mixture over berries. Gently stir berries with a rubber spatula to coat, then pour over cake, mounding blackberries on top.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Cake can be made (without syrup and topping) 1 day ahead, cooled completely, then kept at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap.