Foraging in the fens

I decided this weekend that it was high time I escaped London and visited my friends and family back in Cambridge. There’s something about going home to the flat, open fenlands that gives me an enormous sense of wellbeing and calm. However by Sunday I was having severe baking withdrawal symptoms so I started trawling my Mums vast cookery book collection and came across a book called ‘101 cakes and bakes’. I discovered a recipe for blackberry and apple loaf, which I have also found on the Good Food website here.

Now is the season for both blackberries…

and apples…

so I had the perfect chance to make the most of the fruits growing on my doorstep and in my parents garden. After a yummy homemade Sunday lunch me and my brother went foraging for blackberries straight from the hedgerow…it felt extremely wholesome and we managed to collect a bumper crop…

enough for my cake, with some left over to put in the freezer for another day.

Here’s the recipe I followed for blackberry and apple loaf –

250g self raising flour

175g butter

175g light muscovado sugar

1/2tsp cinnamon

2 rounded tbsp demerara sugar

1 small eating apple, quartered (not cored or peeled)

2 large eggs, beaten

1 orange, finely grated zest

1tsp baking powder

225g blackberries

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a (1.7 litre) loaf tin.

This recipe uses a bit of a different method…you rub the flour, butter and muscovado sugar together with your fingertips to make fine crumbs. Measure out 5 tbsp of this mixture in a separate bowl, mix with the demerara sugar and cinnamon and set aside to use later as the topping for the loaf.

Coarsely grate the apple and mix with the eggs and the zest. 

Stir the baking powder into the rubbed-in mixture in the large bowl and then quickly stir in the egg mixture until incorporated but be careful not to overmix.

Carefully fold in 3/4 of the berries trying not to break them up. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level it out. Scatter the remaining berries on top and sprinkle over the topping mix.

Bake for 50 minutes, remove from the oven and cover it loosely with tin foil to stop it browning too much. Then return it to the oven for 20-30 minutes until firm. Insert a sharp knife or skewer, if it comes out clean the cake is ready!

Leave in the tin for 30 minutes…

 before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool…

then slice and revel in it’s beauty…

The recipe says that it will keep for up to 2 days in a tin, however it’s so delicious and moreish, that if you’re anything like me and my family, it probably won’t last longer than a couple of hours let alone days.

The blackberries are tangy, the cake is rich and extremely moist and the topping adds a gorgeous crunchy texture…

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