There is a season: A blackberry schnecken for when the family shows up for tea

  • Fresh blackberries star in this “frighteningly simple” cake. MOLLY PARR

For the Gazette
Published: 8/5/2022 4:17:53 PM

My family is European, which means accents, and a very high chance that someone will show up to my house with a tea bag in hand, and an almost immediate request to put the kettle on when they come inside.

This isn’t a judgment on my part, as I now also carry tea bags with me, just in case I need a proper cup when I’m out.

A cup of tea, at least in my family, calls for a small pastry; perhaps a cookie or a piece of cake. “Just a little schnecken,” as my late mother would have said.

This past spring, my older sister was not properly prepared for teatime when family visited, and had no pastry to serve with everyone’s tea. Although a little taken aback, they made do with a hastily cut up melon.

I learned my lesson and made sure there was snacking cake when my family recently came for an outdoor meal. The blackberry bushes in my yard are ripe with juicy, luscious berries, and my daughters and I have been fighting the birds for the good ones.


This blackberry cake is what I served to my family with their tea (and other guests who may show up during blackberry season.)

The recipe is frighteningly simple. Mix your dry ingredients, add the wet ones, stir to combine, place in a cake pan, add blackberries, a sprinkle of sugar, and then bake.

Your butter will need to be softened, but with the weather we’ve been having, a stick of butter is ready for baking in no time at all.

While most cake recipes call for buttermilk, regular milk from the fridge works here. Although there is the option of vanilla or almond extract, I am pushing the almond extract here if you have it. The blackberries and the almond scent work beautifully together and really make this a worthwhile cake to have with your tea.

Blackberry snacking cake


2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 egg

One-quarter cup softened unsalted butter

Three-quarters cups milk

1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

2 cups fresh blackberries

1 to 2 tablespoons sugar for topping


Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Prepare and 8x8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray or butter

In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar and baking powder with a whisk.

Using hand-held mixers and a bowl, or a large kitchen mixer, add the egg, softened butter, milk and extract to the dry ingredients and mix for three to four minutes, until everything is incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared baking pan.

Add the berries to the batter.

Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar on top of the prepared cake.

Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until a toothpick or sharp knife comes out clean.

Molly Parr lives in Florence with her husband and two young daughters. She’s been writing her food blog, Cheap Beets, since 2010. Send questions or comments to


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