Red Velvet-Berry Cobbler

It’s no secret that I love brownies, cookies, cupcakes, and all of those rich, often chocolate-filled desserts. But at the end of the day I’d almost always choose a dessert with baked fruit over any of them. Blueberry pie probably sits at the top of my “you can only eat one dessert for the rest of your life, what is it” list, but it’d be followed closely by apple pie and then any kind of fruit crisps and cobblers. Warm, juicy fruit surrounded by buttery pastry (or streusel topping) and a big scoop of ice cream? Well, it just doesn’t get much better than that as far as I’m concerned.

Plus, since there’s so much fruit in them, these types of desserts are much easier to justify for breakfast than say a chocolate chip cookie :)

Red Velvet-Berry Cobbler

For weeks I struggled to come up with a baked fruit dessert I could share with you guys for the 4th of July. It didn’t necessarily have to be red, white, and blue, but that would have been a fun bonus! There’s a blueberry crumble I fell in love with last year that I’ve been meaning to blog, but somehow it didn’t seem exciting enough for the holiday week so I kept searching.

And then one day on Pinterest I happened to see this Red Velvet-Berry Cobbler. Baked fresh summer fruit topped with red velvet cake – is this even real life? I would never have come up with this idea myself, it’s pure genius. I don’t think I even waited a full day before making it happen in my kitchen!

Red Velvet-Berry Cobbler

And I was so happy when it was even better than I could have imagined it would be. The berries (I used a combination of blueberries and raspberries) break down until they’re thick and syrupy and a wonderful combination of sweet and tart. The red velvet cake on top has almost two different textures going on – near the top of the cobbler it’s fluffy like you’d expect if you baked the cake on its own, but as it mixes with the fruit below it develops a softer, more fluid texture but definitely not in an eww soggy cake way (which was one of my concerns about this dessert). The tangy, slightly chocolate-flavored cake pairs perfectly with the berries!

Red Velvet-Berry Cobbler

Best of all, this dessert is super low maintenance. Toss the berries with sugar and cornstarch then throw in a pan and top with a simple from-scratch red velvet cake batter. It’s not the most photogenic dessert when it comes out of the oven, but throw a few spooonfuls in a bowl and top with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and it’s perfectly rustic! You still have time to grab some berries from the store and make this happen for your 4th of July party – I promise, you won’t regret it :)

Red Velvet-Berry Cobbler
from Southern Living, July 2012 (via MyRecipes)

{Note: I used a combination of raspberries and blueberries in the cobbler. Blackberries would also work. The original recipe called for an 11×7-inch pan so feel free to use that instead of the 8×8 if you have it.}

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
6 cups assorted fresh berries
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons red liquid food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Stir the cornstarch and 1/2 cup of the sugar together in a large bowl. Add the berries and toss to combine with the cornstarch mixture. Transfer to the prepared pan, spreading in an even layer.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Gradually stream in the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and continue beating until well combined and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined. Mix in the food coloring and vanilla (the batter might look curdled, it will come together in the next step).

In a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, and baking soda (don’t use a 1-cup measuring cup – it will bubble over!). With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk mixture in 2, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, beating just until combined.

Pour the batter over the top of the berries, spreading in an even layer. (If you used an 8×8-inch pan it will be quite full, but don’t worry, it won’t overflow in the oven.) Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake topping comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for at least 10 minute before serving (I recommend letting it sit even a little longer, maybe 20-30 minutes).