Jewels dropped on white satin--this cake is lovely as breakfast, tea, or dessert. It has a slightly tart flavor from the buttermilk, which keeps it softly dense with pops of berries and a thick, vanilla glaze that dries to a shiny, lacquered finish.
This loaf is pretty as a gift, but make two--one for you and one for them.
Trader Joe's has a great selection of freeze-dried berries, as does Whole Foods/Amazon.
Notes: The oil is grape seed.
BERRY BUTTERMILK LOAF
Ingredients: 1 3/4 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 3/4 cup buttermilk, 3/4 cup sugar, two eggs at room temperature, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/2 cup neutral oil, scant 1/4 cup freeze-dried berries-crumbled. For the frosting: 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, 1-2 Tbsp. warm water, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 Tbsp. crumbled freeze-dried berries.
1. Preheat oven to 350* and grease and line a standard loaf pan.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and oil together.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until smooth. Fold in 1/4 cup of freeze-dried berries. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a tester comes clean. Cool completely.
4. Whisk the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 Tbsp. water together until there are no lumps. The frosting should be a thick but pourable consistency. If you need to add more water, do it a teaspoon at a time. Sprinkle immediately with crumbled freeze-dried berries.
TIP: To crumble the berries, place them into a zip-lock bag and roll them with a wine bottle.