Raspberry and Brown Sugar Loaf

I love a good picnic. However, the husband and I have very different ideas of what a picnic should be. I fancy a game of croquet and a gaffe over the strawberries a la Emma Woodhouse. The husband is satisfied with a length of salami and a hunk of cheese. So this was my compromise.

We hiked on a Saturday afternoon the northern-most tip of Point Reyes National Seashore.  A simple (but longish) drive to Pierce Point Ranch (a dairy ranch from about 1858 to the 1970s) and a few-mile hike afford gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and Tomales Bay (assuming the fog hasn't rolled in). If you're lucky, and we were, the elk will be on full display, and there are plenty of rock outcroppings and a one Monterey cyprus tree patch, all just aching for a picnic blanket (and no croquet). 

Yes, I brought some salami, and we stopped in Point Reyes Station at the Cowgirl Creamery for some Red Hawk. However, I also made this Raspberry and Brown Sugar Loaf--an adaptation of Diana Henry's Blackberry and Brown Sugar Loaf. Henry's own loaf is an adaptation of John Thorne's Raspberry and Brown Sugar Cake. So I fiddled a bit more, and here we are. In Henry's recipe, she uses blackberries and lemons. Here I use raspberries and limes. I encourage more fiddling on your part.

While I wasn't able to channel the wit, charm, acerbic tongue, and forced humility of Emma, I was able to munch on this hearty, no-nonsense cake as we listened to song birds and watched the fog roll in. There was no croquet, but there was lounging, a picnic blanket, and warm water from water bottles. 

You take what you can get. You watch elk. You hike. You have a beautiful picnic, complete with salami and cake. 


Raspberry and Brown Sugar Loaf

Adapted from Diana Henry's Plenty

Makes 1 loaf, Serves 8-10

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1¼ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten until frothy
2 heaped Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbsp grated lime zest and the juice from one lime
pinch of ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
8 ounces (1⅔ cups) raspberries 

1. Preheat the oven to 325℉.  

2.  With an electric mixer, beat the butter until light. Then add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, a little at a time, and beat until creamy. Turn the speed down to low, and add the sour cream, zest, lime juice, cinnamon, and flour. Beat until the mixture just comes together.

3.  Sift the baking powder over the top, sprinkle on the raspberries, and gently fold these into the mixture with a wooden spoon, breaking them up as little as possible.

4.  Spoon the mixture into the buttered loaf pan, smooth the top, and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

5.  Let the loaf cook in the pan for about 15 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge and turn it out onto a wire rack. Turn right side up and let cool completely.


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