This easy mixed berry snacking cake comes together in a flash, requires only one bowl, and keeps well on your counter for days (although it will never last that long). You’re welcome.
I’m madly in love with this recipe, as is everyone who has tried it – either because I made it for them or they made it themselves. (Yes, this recipe has already made the rounds.)
The cake comes together quickly and is a breeze to assemble. I like to sprinkle turbinado sugar (raw sugar) generously over the top before baking it, as it adds the loveliest of sparkles to the cake, as well as a delectable crunch. But you do you.
The snacking cake is wonderful with a dollop of whipped cream or even a drizzle of heavy cream – and, no, I will not be angry if you go the vanilla ice cream route, I promise.–Jessie Sheehan
Mixed Berry Snacking Cake FAQs
What’s a snacking cake?
There’s lots of variety in snacking cakes, but they’re usually easy to prepare, often just in one bowl. Also, they’re made in one layer, with minimal decoration, and store well at room temperature, which is why they’re also referred to as “counter cakes”. And as the name suggests, they’re ideal for snacking on, any time of the day.
What is turbinado sugar?
Turbinado sugar (aka raw sugar) is like white sugar, it’s just minimally processed and refined. The brown color of turbinado crystals comes from the natural molasses in the sugar cane it’s made from.
Can I make this cake in muffin tins instead of an 8-by-8-inch pan?
Yes, but they’ll need to spend much less time in the oven. Cupcakes should bake about one-third to one-half the time a cake would – so for this recipe, anywhere from 13 to 25 minutes. It’s best to be cautious and start testing for doneness at the shorter end of the baking time. Your cupcakes will be done when a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs on it.
Alternatively, if you want to keep this as a cake, but don’t have an 8-inch square pan, a round 9-inch cake pan will work nicely here.
Can I make this cake with other fruits?
Yes. If berries are out of season, or not your favorite, author Jessie Sheehan suggests using chopped apples or pears, sprinkled with a little cinnamon.
Easy Mixed Berry Snacking Cake
- Cooking spray or butter for the pan
- 2/3 cup mild olive oil or mild vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2/3 cups buttermilk or whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup of your favorite fresh berries (halved if using larger berries such as strawberries) dried with a paper towel
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Spray an 8-by-8-by-2-inch (20-by-20-by-5-cm) cake pan with non-stick cooking spray or coat with softened butter. Line with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugars, and vanilla. Add the egg, and then the yolk, whisking after each. Whisk in the buttermilk.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of parchment, and using the parchment as a funnel, add the dry ingredients to the wet in three installments, folding with a flexible spatula after each, just to incorporate. Don't overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Sprinkle the top of the cake with the berries and then with the turbinado sugar.
- Transfer the cake to the oven and bake, rotating the pan after 20 minutes, until a tester inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Let the cake cool to room temperature before dusting with confectioners’ sugar and serving right from the pan. Add a dollop of freshly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired. (The cake will keep wrapped in plastic wrap for three days on the counter – and some claim it gets better with age.)
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Berries and buttermilk! This easy mixed berry snacking cake is more than the sum of its parts. On first glance it’s a very simple recipe. Comes together in no time!
It looks glorious going into the oven and after it is baked. First bite was perfect. I couldn’t wait for it to cool completely. My iced cold brew was waiting and well, it was a Sunday morning.
The texture of the cake is perfect, almost buttery with a delicate crumb. Not too sweet and bursting with berries, this cake is just what I was looking for. It would be delicious with peaches and perhaps with a bit of cardamom. Placing the berries on top is a nice way to keep them from sinking and also keeps them whole for a really pretty cake. Definitely a keeper!
It seems like a great cake for a barbecue or a picnic or for a casual summer meal with vanilla ice cream or lemon curd!
This easy mixed berry snacking cake is delicious. Not too sweet. I loved the fresh berries on top and the crunch from the turbinado sugar. Very moist. Good as dessert or for breakfast. I’ll make this again.
At first bite, this snacking cake seemed unremarkable. But then, I couldn’t stop eating it. In fact, day after day it was even more sinful and calling me into the kitchen.
I’ve made plenty of cakes like this to have on hand when we have visitors. And of course they’re delicious. However, what made this seem unremarkable was exactly what made it great. Its simplicity and ease, basically a one-bowl cake that “ages” and is perfect for visitors, picnics or something sweet to snack on during a Zoom call.
This was the best baked fresh berry dessert I’ve ever tasted. And if you aren’t sold yet, then let me just say that there are four kinds of sugar in this recipe. Four! And WOW do they work well together. I would have reached for the whipped cream if I’d needed it, but the cake is so moist, literally nothing else is needed.
Mine didn’t turn out as level as the recipe’s author. Can’t say for sure, but I might have either overmixed when I folded in the flour mixture or inserted too many toothpicks to check if it was done.
I always think recipes that call for buttermilk taste better with actual buttermilk, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I soured some milk with lemon juice, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it was still phenomenal.
The one downside is how long the cake takes to cool, so prop it up on a cooling rack if you need it cooled sooner or make it the night before, because this is one of those recipes that holds up really well on the counter. It was just as good on day three.
This mixed berry snacking cake is moist, tender, and sweet and is a perfect way to incorporate the season’s best berries into a simple cake. The recipe is easy to put together and mixes up with just a whisk and a spatula.
I used strawberries and blueberries and felt that one cup looked stingy, so I ended up using about a cup and a half of berries and quartered strawberries. I didn’t dust with confectioner’s sugar. I thought that the turbinado sprinkled on top was enough.
This felt like a recipe to keep in your pocket—one bowl, few ingredients, and used up the fresh but least perfect berries from the night before: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and halved strawberries.
I needed an extra 15 minutes of baking in my square glass baking dish, maybe due to the juicy strawberries or the lemon juice used to thicken the milk, but this cake was very good, moist, and tasted of summer. The crunchy top and moist crumb meant that it didn’t really need whipping cream or ice cream.
Bake up a pan of this mixed berry snacking cake and not only will you be seriously snacking, but you’ll be dreaming of seriously snacking on this cake once it’s gone. It’s that good! So good, I made it twice in the last two weeks!
First, it’s so simple to make. Just prep your ingredients (almost all of which you’ll have on hand), add them to one bowl, whisk and fold the batter, and it’s ready for the oven.
The proverbial “icing on the cake” was that topping on the cake. A beautiful crunchy edging, which formed from the sprinkled turbinado sugar and which contrasted so perfectly the tender and moist crumb.
Just a wonderfully simple and delicious little breakfast and/or dessert cake which could be served alone, with whipped cream or ice cream. A cake I will be making A LOT for family and company!
This mixed berry snacking cake is a one-bowl wonder that’s a great excuse to show off fresh seasonal berries. This time around I used strawberries and blueberries. This cake hits the spot on the breakfast table just as well as it does as dessert.
I immediately fell for the crinkly crust and chewy edges. My husband enjoyed his cake surrounded by custard, while I preferred eating my cake plain in the afternoon with coffee.
This mixed berry cake is the type of recipe you memorize (or should). It’s practical, can be pulled together quickly, doesn’t require a lot of bowls, and the fruit can be modified to match the season.
It’s perfect if you find out friends are coming over later – it makes just enough (about 12 pieces) and it feels very welcoming. I held off sprinkling it with confectioners’ sugar until serving. We kept it wrapped in plastic wrap on the counter and it got better each day.
I appreciated the deep buttermilk flavor of this moist little snacking cake, along with the use of fresh berries.
Since strawberry season is early here in Tennessee, I used them for my berries. The local berries are quite small, but still, I chose to slice them in half before adding them to the top. I think this was a good idea anyway, because then I didn’t end up with pockets of wetness on the top of the cake. Rather you could still see most of the sliced strawberries on top but some of the cake puffed around them.
Lovely, moist cake. Easy to make. Perfect for breakfast in lieu of muffins. Great the next day!
I really enjoyed the toffee notes that the brown sugar added to this recipe. I would increase the salt a little next time.
I probably will make this with just blueberries next time as well. The strawberries made the top a little soggy—not a criticism of the recipe since I selected the berries, but something to consider. I thought about adding some cranberries that I had in my freezer, but since the recipe called specifically for fresh berries, I opted not to use them. Maybe next time.
My wife also said that she would like to have just the cake without the fruit topping. She really enjoyed the cake, eating 14 of the 16 pieces herself!
What’s not to love about a cake that comes together in the time it takes to pre-heat the oven AND with ingredients I already had on hand?
I used a combination of raspberries and blueberries, so it was just the right amount of sweet. The turbinado sugar added an extra layer of crunch on top of the tender cake. We pretty much devoured it right out of the pan.
The word “snacking” is appealing enough, but when you add “cake” the phrase becomes irresistible. This cake won’t try anyone’s patience because it comes together so quickly (with just a whisk!) and goes in the oven in 15 minutes.
The recipe has you cool the cake to room temperature before serving, but who’s watching, really?! You’d be more likely to be joined by like-minded partners in crime.
I used a combination of berries and loved the sweet/tart balancing act of blueberries, sliced strawberries, and raspberries. Next time I’d like to try folding lemon or orange zest into the batter for a fresh citrus hint.
Instead of serving the cake with ice cream or whipped cream, I did what I do with any snack cake: simply leave it on the kitchen counter and let it lure nibblers during their self-appointed snack breaks. I hogged the last couple of pieces and situated them with a fork next to my laptop to sustain me while I answered a gazillion work emails.
Originally published July 19, 2022