I have some pretty exciting (exciting for me, boring for you) news: Alex and I just booked another trip back to Portland, Maine! If you’ve been following along with The Vivid Kitchen, I think it’s pretty obvious by now how much we love Portland and would do anything to live there, so the fact that we managed to book our third trip there in less than two years is amazing.
This will be the first time that we’ll be visiting in the springtime, so we can’t wait to see how different the city will be... there may be snow on the ground or it could be raining every other day, but we won’t mind that at all! Something else different about this trip is that this is the first time we’ll have a rental car. This means we’ll be able to check out places we’ve been dying to see outside of Portland, like Palace Diner in Biddeford, The Purple House in North Yarmouth, and most importantly, ACADIA (!!!). If you have any recommendations for must-see spots outside of Portland, I’m all ears.
Now that I have Portland on the brain and I find myself once again googling more restaurants and bars to hit for our upcoming trip, I’m reminiscing about all of our favorite spots that we fell in love with over the past two trips: Bonobo for the most incredible wood-fired pizzas, Belleville for insanely flaky and buttery croissants and swirl buns, and LFK for creative cocktails. But one of our favorite breakfast haunts for some of the best pastries in the city is Tandem Coffee + Bakery, and it is where I drew inspiration from for today’s recipe.
On our last trip to Portland, Alex and I went to Tandem for an early morning breakfast, since their breakfast sandwiches, served on the best biscuits ever, are incredible. But if you’ve ever visited Tandem before, it goes without saying that you can’t leave without ordering from the bakery’s daily selection of baked goods ranging from cakes to cookies to pies. On this particular day, it was their scone selection that caught my attention: a blackberry and hazelnut flavored scone. The golden brown pastry looked like a textbook perfect scone, and the moment I had my first bite I fell deep in love with the flavor combination. Yes, a nut and berry combo isn’t that crazy of an idea for scones, but blackberries and hazelnuts together was new to me and I knew that I had to test it out in other kinds of baked goods when I got home.
Which brings me to this amazingly simple and not too sweet, blackberry and hazelnut yogurt pound cake. This recipe is slightly adapted from the ingenious Alison Roman, author of the cookbook Dining In and regular contributor to The New York Times food section and Bon Appétit. Alison got a lot of recognition for Dining In, at first due to a cookie recipe that went viral (which I tried and loved), but she has gone on to show that just about any recipe that she shares with the world, is not only approachable but exceptionally delectable. I’ve cooked a handful of her recipes (sweet and savory) which are all great, but I’ll always have a soft spot for her yogurt and honey pound cake with raspberries (from her cookbook). I love a solid loaf cake recipe and how it only gets better the longer it sits in your fridge - loaf cakes like this one and banana breads are always better the next day, in my opinion.
So, I took Alison’s recipe, tweaked it a bit and tried the recipe with the blackberry and hazelnut flavor combination. The end result is seriously delicious and addicting, and something that I will make over and over again. Paired with the incredible and moist crumb due to the added Greek yogurt (or sour cream if you prefer) and the lightly sweetened taste due in part to a combination of honey and granulated sugar, this pound cake is a winner. In similar fashion with my citrus ricotta bundt cake with pistachios, I finished this cake with a good amount (re: a lot) of hazelnuts doused in honey, so if you’re bringing this to a friend’s house or a party, people will know what they’re getting themselves into… and the added crunch of even more hazelnuts makes the cake better, of course. Finish with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and you’ll have a beautiful cake ready to go.
I can’t wait to visit Portland again for more inspiration for my blog and I so look forward to eating some of the best food and drinks that the city has to offer.
P.S. This is my 50th blog post! Woo!
Blackberry and Hazelnut Yogurt Pound Cake
Makes 1 standard loaf cake (9x4 inch pan)
Recipe adapted from Alison Roman via Dining In
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 tbsp. for berry and nut mixture
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup whole-milk plan Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1/3 cup neutral oil, like vegetable or grapeseed
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Roughly chopped hazelnuts, honey, confectioners’ sugar, etc. to finish
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 9x4 inch loaf pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the berries and nuts together with 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour (to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake while baking). Set this bowl aside as well.
Combine the sugar, honey, Greek yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl, and whisk until incorporated. Using a spatula, slowly fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not over mix. Carefully add the berry/nut/flour mixture to the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth over the top with a spatula. Bake in the oven for 60-70 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through. The cake will be done when the cake is a deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs.
Allow the cake to fully cool in the pan on a cooling rack before removing and transferring to a plate. Top the cake with hazelnuts mixed with honey and/or confectioners’ sugar. Store the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap. In my opinion, loaf cakes are always best the next day!