I am obsessed with blackberries.
And did you know we have dozens upon dozens of blackberry bushes growing wild here on our property? And every August, they are full of plump ripe berries for making
everything blackberry inspired that you can imagine.
And the other day, I found myself basket & scissors in hand clipping away.
Because… it is a fun kind of week coming up on my blog…
easy and elegant entertaining month over here on French Country Cottage.
Well, it is.
Easy, simple, inspired AND deliciously delightful entertaining ideas.
Spilling the beans on my go-to ideas for entertaining and serving with style and let you mingle at the party without being in the kitchen half the time.
And today, we are talking desserts.
As in rustic cakes.
I know I have shared rustic cakes a gazillion times over here-
they are definitely some of my favorites.
And in the winter, baking layer after layer is a good thing and warms up the house a bit.
But in the summer? That oven does not like to come on.
So.. I have a simple secret to keep it amazingly easy (and no bake)
for those hot summer days.
This is a 4 layer decadent delicious cake stacked with frosting and toped with berries and blooms.
And that took about 15 minutes to make.
It is a freshly baked cake.
With freshly made, not from a can on the shelf frosting
with fresh fruit.
So what is the catch?
Let’s start with a trip to the market.
Did you know that at the bakery at some of the well known grocery stores across the country
you can purchase ‘layers’ of cake that are unfrosted?
Oh yes indeed.
And a tub of frosting that they just made that morning.
Just go to the bakery department and ask.
So, I picked up 4 layers of white cake- at $2 a layer.
And a half a tub of white frosting for $7
Now, it is debatable if the frosting would be cheaper in the pre-made full of who knows what cans
but honestly, strange preservative ingredients aside- this frosting spreads like butter as they say.
Really does go on much easier- so it is worth the extra to me.
Start by stacking the first layer- then chunk a bunch of the frosting on it
and repeat, repeat, repeat- until all your layers are in place.
Then you want to take that frosting and frost the top- and then pull your knife around the sides of the cake to ‘smooth’ it and smooth those in betweens.
Don’t press too hard- but use a smooth knife to make sure you don’t stir up too many crumbs.
Note: It doesn’t look pretty the whole time- only after it is done-
so don’t stress when it looks like the above photo.
And smooth your top making sure to keep the edges simple and rounded as you go.
Once that is wrapped- you will have the start of your rustic aka ‘naked’ cake.
Enter my basket full of fresh picked berries.
You can use store bought blackberries & blueberries- just make sure they are fresh rather than frozen.
You do not want a whole mess of blackberry juice all over your cake as they thaw.
I also clipped fresh herbs and flowers to use.
I used sage, catmint and lavender- and small baby roses.
Note: The key when using flowers and greens on your cake is to make sure they are safe.
Google ahead of time- and a tip is to stay with herbs for decoration.
They are used in teas and cooking which means they will be safe as a topping.
And if you aren’t using safe flowers- make sure to place a plastic disc layer over the frosting
(you can find these at a bakery) so that the flowers do not touch the cake.
And of course- don’t let anyone eat them.
Or another option is to use faux and forget about worrying about it.
I layered the sage and catmint to create a simple little decor on half of the top of the cake.
And then tucked in just a few lavender sprigs and topped with blackberries and blueberries-
creating a 3/4 topped cake.
For the garland- more fresh herbs tucked up against the cake around the base
and on the platter for serving- and you can also tuck in fresh greens
or use paper leaves if you would prefer for added oomph.
(do you think these are real or faux? No one will know the difference!)
And then add a few fresh berries, blackberry branches and leaves.
I decided I also wanted a few roses- but the ones I had picked up at the store were too large.
So I clipped a couple off one of the mini rose plants we have
and added just 2 of them as a finishing touch.
You can also dip the berries in sugar for a sweeter more sparkly presentation
if you would like.
A few tips:
I also like to add small sprigs of blackberries on the vine- but they are thorny
so make sure to clip the thorns before doing so-
and keep them as decoration (not on the top) so no one nibbles on them.
And when clipping blackberries from your yard- wear gloves and closed shoes.
Yes, I did manage to get 2 thorns in my toes by wearing my flip flops.
And I don’t even want to talk about how many times they got my fingers.
Make sure to wash and dry your berries, herbs and flowers before using them on the cake
and stay away from any that are not organic or may have been sprayed with anything you don’t want to be eating.
And avoid those ‘over ripe’ berries to avoid ‘berry drip’ all over the cake.
It isn’t a pretty thing.
And that is it.
Simple, decadent, delicious and easy to make.
And perfect for summer entertaining.
a wine country cheese board and all the essentials.
Because, who doesn’t love the wine country and cheese boards and all that deliciousness.
And best part- it is so easy to put one together.
And the simplest blackberry and blooms bouquet to go along with this cake
and that cheese board.
I am off for a bit of exercise – and I have a tub of grout with my name on it.
What else would you like to see in the Easy and Elegant entertaining series?
Happy Monday everyone.