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If you follow this column, you've probably noticed that I incorporate a lot of fruit into my cakes. I used to be an "all chocolate cake, all the time" kind of girl, but at some point fresh fruit earned as much, if not more, of my esteem.
In this installment of Maria del Mar Loves Fruit and Cake, I took a cue from berry crisp. A berry crisp is one of the simplest, most satisfying desserts out there: seasonal fruits are tossed with sugar and other flavorings, then topped with a crumbly mixture of butter, flour, sugar, and often, nuts and rolled oats. Since this is a cake column, I naturally had to add a layer of cake underneath the crisp.
This cake is rich and tangy with mascarpone cheese and spiked with sweet white wine. On top of the cake are fresh berries (I opted for raspberries and blackberries) tossed with lemon juice and sugar, and, of course, the topmost layer is the crisp. This particular crisp is made up of butter, brown sugar, oatmeal, and sliced almonds. Once baked, the berries sink into the cake and burst, becoming a built-in layer of fresh jam, while the crumble melts and crisps into a cookie-like crust that provides wonderful textural contrast. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or at room temperature with a cup of steaming coffee in the morning.
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