Blackberry Gingerbread Upside-Down Cake (1938) ★★★★★

I usually post during the week, but since it's Canada Day today I thought I would make an exception. You also may have noticed I updated the blog's look. I like to experiment, so don't be surprised if this kind of thing happens often. Anyway, I think this looks a lot sleeker than the previous layout!

We were lucky enough to inherit some black raspberry bushes with our house when we moved in two years ago. At that time most of the bushes were actually on our neighbour's side of the house and just a few were on our side. Since then they have completely overgrown the whole right side of our house. We have picked about 4 cups of berries just in the last two days! Today's recipe is a harvest recipe - one which is great for using up leftover fruit in the summer and fall months. I decided to use our black raspberry harvest instead of buying blackberries for economical reasons, but I imagine the ladies of 1938 would have done the same. Plus the taste is quite similar, I think.

Original Recipe:

2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
3/4 c. molasses
1/2 c. melted butter
3/4 c. hot water.

Sift dry ingredients together; then mix together egg, molasses, butter, and hot water; add dry ingredients. Beat till well blended. For the topping:

4 tbsp. butter
3/4 c. berry juice
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 c. blackberries, washed and drained

In a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, bring butter, juice, and sugar to a boil and boil 2 minutes. Add berries, then pour in batter carefully to cover all fruit. Bake at 350F for 35 minutes. Let stand in pan 15 minutes before turning out, inverted, onto a plate or cake stand.

The Verdict:
I was really worried about how this would turn out, because the berry topping was very liquidy and some of it cooked over top of the cake. In the end, it was a very moist and tender the point where it pretty much broke apart when I cut a piece, as you can see in the photos (edit: After leaving it in the fridge overnight it stayed together in a very pretty triangle after cutting. It was also a lot denser). Nevertheless, it was delicious! I'm pretty sure I kept repeating "That cake is SOOOOO GOOOOOOD" for like 5 minutes after I tried it. Mr. Man was slightly less impressed and just said, "It was mushy." I didn't mind the moistness, actually. And parts around the edges where the berry topping cooked were crispy, too. I would definitely make this again. The only change I would make is to cook the berry topping just a bit longer so that it's not quite so liquidy. Because this was very borderline deliciously moist cake to mushy mess.

Modernized Recipe:
(Adapted from The Farmer's Wife: The Magazine for Farm Women)

The original can be easily followed. For the "berry juice", I just used currant juice, because I had it on hand, but I imagine any berry juice would work, or even the juice squeezed out of some fresh blackberries. Also, just be careful when mixing the egg with the hot water and melted butter - you don't want it to curdle.

Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.