Thunder Cake

comments: 65


On Sunday we had a great display of lightning and thunder, a nice prelude to the 4th of July. It cooled off dramatically as the storm was approaching, so I thought I'd take the raspberries I'd gotten at the farm and make a thunder cake with my new bundt pan. I used the recipe for the Almond-Berry Coffee Cake from the June 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Living.


You add a layer of batter to the bottom of the pan (and this is a 10" bundt pan with removable bottom from Sur La Table), then mound up the raspberries (mixed with some jelly), then spread on another layer of batter.


Top it all with the toasted-almonds-and-brown-sugar stuff. I left a lot of it off, 'cause it seemed like we were getting quite a pile of it on there, and since I didn't have as much butter as I needed, I was afraid too much topping would just crumble into a pile of dust as the cake got cut.

Raspberrycake4 Smelled amazing. Toasted almonds are one of the only kinds of nuts I like.


Unfortunately, the bottom of the cake was pretty mushy — this is it upside down as I was turning it. I think the raspberries were too cold (I'd frozen them overnight, and, though thawed, they were still pretty cold) and I had too many. There was just too much of the heavy cold filling on top of that bottom layer for it to rise. So I'd probably leave out the jam next time, make sure the raspberries were not chilly, and just sprinkle a ring of plain berries on top of the first layer, myself.

It did remind me of this one time about fifteen years ago when my friend Amy, who I'd grown up with in River Forest and later lived with in Missoula, was trying to make banana bread. She figured that if two mushy black bananas were good, five mushy black bananas would be 150% better. Various housemates kept coming into the kitchen, saying boring things like, "Er, that's too much banana," to which beautiful six-foot-tall Amy brazenly replied, "This is Big Sky country, baby! Go big or go home!!!" I just stood back and giggled — I had known Amy for a long time; you don't argue with Amy. So she stirred up the "bread," popped it in the oven, and about two hours later (after checking to see if it was "done" about eight times [it never was] ) finally pulled out one 9" x 13" pan of very hot . . . banana. I wouldn't say there was any "bread" to speak of. But she stood there (long legs, short shorts, not a care in the world) and ate it out of the pan with a spoon anyway. If you know Amy Towle, you can picture this perfectly. Makes me miss her.


My cake wasn't nearly as soggy, and still kind of good that way, I have to say. That top layer, though? Scrumpdillyumptious. Just in time for the thunder to really roll. We sat on the front porch and listened. Felt like home.


HeidiAnn says: July 02, 2008 at 09:23 AM

I think I will try that the way you said- with just the raspberries in a layer - maybe a bit of brown sugar with them? Looks good, sounds wonderful- I love the banana "bread" story about your friend Amy, too!

looks good to me and hey this way you don't have to share with guests...

Ooh, I love lightning! I wish we had more down here in the Bay Area - it's so beautiful to watch.
Hey, anything with raspberries and toasted almonds sounds grand to me. Cakes are funny with different weather sometimes so maybe this recipe would work just fine on a sunny day.

Alicia, have a great holiday! This recipe rocks! I am sending you a link to see if you might want to do the save-the-whales thing. It's fun and it does not cost anything. It would be great if your readers joined too.

That looks really yummy. I can't believe I don't own a bundt cake pan! I need to go get one, because this just looks too good.

my mouth is watering!

Just finished reading Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. I know you have a long list for the summer, but I really loved this fictional "based on a true story" read.

That looks very yummy. I am making banana bread this morning, and laughed after I read this because I thought I should put in more nanners than just two. Glad I didn't! :)


That looks great! The bundt pan I have is peaked at the top, so if I used it for this recipe, the almond sugar mix would be like a crust at the bottom instead of a yummy topping. I wonder if it would still work. I do like the almost coffee cake look it has with the crumbles on top...

Thank you for showing your less than perfect performances in baking. Makes you real and relate-able, Alicia.

I loved your story of your friend's banana mess. You paint perfect word pictures so I could see her in my mind and actually see and smell her "bread". It smelled good, right??

Scrumpdillyumptious. That was a word from a really old Dairy Queen jingle, wasn't it? So now I'm craving warm banana bread and have an old jingle running 'round and 'round in my brain. Thanks a bunch! LOL. :D

LOL That reminds me of the time my college roomie and I decided that since we loved figs so much, fig pancakes would be fantastic. We proceeded to add about 20 figs to the batter and, since we didn't know much about anything back then, could never get it to be an actual batter. It was more like fig soup! I don't think it crossed our mind to keep adding flour until it thickened. Live and learn. I've got to try that again.

Yeah, I found out the hard way you CAN put too many chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies.

I drove a friend over to Redmond, OR on Sunday and on my drive back I got to watch the amazing lightening storms. I took 97 North because I had never been that way into The Dalles - amazing country. Even better watching storms move in over The Cascades and the high desert. Seeing all that beauty reminded me of why I love it here - but the storms do make me miss the Midwest sometimes. Especially the lightening bugs! Happy 4th to you and Andy!!!!!!

Oh, this looks soooo good. I really need to get back in the kitchen and start baking. But, here in the south, it's just to dang hot. Thanks for sharing this. Another one for my to-do list.

I love your friend stories. I miss Amy and I don't even know her.... The cake still looks yummy!

For some reason, this post made my tear up a little! I'm gonna try the cake too, it's raspberry picking time in ct and I can't wait to go. thanks!

For some reason, this post made me tear up a little! I'm gonna try the cake too, it's raspberry picking time in ct and I can't wait to go. thanks!

Still looks yummy to me! Cat ^..^

ooohhh..your cake looks delish! (mushy bottom and all!) I think I'll have to get out my bundt pan and make one for Independence Day!

Dang, now I know why my banana bread never gets done - I'm using too many bananas (not as many as your friend Amy but usually 3-4). Now I know and will use the by the book 2 bananas.

Your cake looks yummy. I may have to make this for 4th of July brunch.

We are expecting big storms here in the upper midwest today. Kind of hoping for some big thunder boomers and lightening.

OMG! you mean you got to eat it during the storm? now that must have been heaven on earth! the cake looks quite yummy there on that plate. the color of which seems a perfect compliment to almond toasted delight. good banana story :)

Oh, Thunder Cake! I LOVE that book! Such a great grandma and granddaughter story with such a great lesson. They read it all the time at the pre-K where I used to work...just thinking about it makes me miss all those precious kiddos! Your cake sounds delicious, by the way, even with the soggy bottom. Sometimes that's the best! :)

Hon, you sure manage to get a LOT done! I am duly impressed!

Rebecca U says: July 02, 2008 at 03:05 PM

I just wish reading Thunder Cake to my dog would help with his fear of fireworks (and thunder storms when we lived in TX).

Awwww, if you like Patricia Polacco, read The Keeping Quilt! I got it from the Scholastic book order last year, have the niece keep an eye out for it. It's a beautiful little book about family heirlooms and if you are a weenie like me you will cry.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.