A signature trait of mine is that I can be quite sensitive.  I see a restaurant going out of business, I ponder and wonder why people didn’t like it.  I cannot tolerate people being mean to waitstaff or a salesperson.  Someone beeps their horn at me while driving, I can’t sleep at night thinking about it.  I see a person eating alone at a restaurant, I wonder if they are okay and if they have any friends.  I see devastating news on the television and I am in tears.

I mentioned restaurants going out of business first because that is something that really bothers me.  I know some restaurants just serve bad food and are mismanaged.  But, I think of the planning and the blood, sweat, and tears that people put into such endeavors.  It really breaks my heart.  My sister is the same way, one time she started crying when she saw a big grand opening sign for a new restaurant and no one inside with the waiters ready to serve.  She said, “They have all the food ready and are waiting for people to eat it.”  Even typing that sentence makes my heart sink.

Where I live now, I have seen the closing of several restaurants and bakeries.  New places just don’t do too well here.  There aren’t many options in terms of dessert.  This saddens me because I love going out for dessert.  When I lived in Montreal there was a patisserie at every corner and back home in Rhode Island, Pastiche is a local institution.

Baking is not my speciality.  I do enjoy it, but when I bake, my usually organized, neat, and tidy self goes out the window.  Flour splattered all over the counter, 100 random mixing bowls, eggshells, and sugar are in a disarray all over my kitchen.  This is why I wish, I could go and pick up something from a dessert shop and call it a day.  It would save my kitchen from a tornado of baking supplies.

I made this summer berry upside down cake firstly, because I went crazy buying berries last weekend at the farmer’s market and secondly, I didn’t have the ingredients to make cheesecake for my husband.  ***Husband spoiler alert:  I am saving the cheesecake his birthday next month.***

I was also unsure how this cake would turn out because I was combining two recipes together.  Also, another baking phobia of mine is that my dessert will come out tasting too eggy.  I am one of those people who can’t stand the smell or taste of egg yolks.  I am sure the “real” foodies will now outcast me.  But to my defense, who wants an egg-yolky tasting dessert anyway?  The upside-down aspect of the cake also had me on the edge.  I was convinced this was going to be a disaster comprised of me using a knife to scrape off the berries from the bottom of the pan.  Thankfully, none of this was the case and the cake was delightful, not overly sweet and just the right hint of berry goodness.  Plus, the berry colors are my absolute favorite.

Sorry, if I depressed any of you with the ramble about my sensitive nature.  At least, I ended with cake.

Summer Berry Upside-Down Cake

Serves 6-8

adapted from Martha Stewart’s Plum and Raspberry Upside-Down Cake and Ina Garten’s Honey Vanilla Pound Cake


5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (2 tablespoons for the pan)

4 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 pints raspberries*

1 pint blackberries*

1 1/2 cups cake and pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

a pinch of nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup organic cane sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup plain yogurt

*use any fruits you like and are in season


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Spread 1/2 tablespoon of butter over the bottom of a springform pan (8 1/2″ by 2 1/2″).  Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper spread the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter over the parchment paper.  In a bowl, mix the berries with the brown sugar.  Arrange the berries on the bottom of the pan, I clustered the blackberries in the middle and surrounded them with the raspberries.  Set aside.

Next, in a bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt.

Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the remaining butter, canola oil, and sugar for about 3 minutes.  Combine the eggs, honey, and vanilla in a bowl and drop one egg at a time into the butter, oil, and sugar mixture on medium speed.  Mix until combined and add in the yogurt and mix until incorporated.

Turn your mixer to low speed and gradually pour in the flour until it is combined.  Do not overmix.

Pour the batter evenly over the berries.  Bake for 1 hour, but at the 40 minute mark turn the oven down to 325.  After 1 hour, make sure the cake is done by inserting a knife and making sure it comes out clean.  Allow to cool.  Using a knife, go around the edges of the cake to make sure it does not stick to the pan.  Unlock the springform pan and invert it over your serving dish, so that the berries are on top (remove the parchment paper).  Dust with powdered sugar and serve with fresh vanilla whipped cream.

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