Tag Archives: blackberry

Local & handpicked blackberry & apple crumble cake…

Last week I took a rare break in the middle of a busy day of baking, packed my lunch into a bag and ventured into my local graveyard to make the most of the sunshine. Now, you may think it a bit of a strange place to enjoy a picnic but Mill Road cemetery is a stones throw from my house and is a veritable sanctuary away from, well, everything! It’s so beautiful and peaceful and at the moment it’s also chocablock with blackberries…

Unfortunately, on that occasion I didn’t have the time or a suitable receptacle to take any with me but a couple of days later I went on a blackberry picking mission and after pricking myself numerous times and getting well and truly scratched up (I even managed to spike myself in the head, be warned, blackerry bushes are evil buggers) I ended up with a bumper crop…

Just a couple of words of warning…beware of picking from low hanging branches 😉 and before you get baking/eating, make sure you wash them really well to get rid of all of any little friends who may be camping out in your fruit!

I recalled a recipe I’d used a couple of years ago for a blackberry and apple loaf and decided I’d scale it up a bit to make an 8 inch (20cm) cake…

You can either follow the recipe in the link above to make a loaf or use these quantities to make an 8 inch round cake…

375g self raising flour

265g butter

265g light muscovado sugar

3/4 tsp cinnamon

3 rounded tbsp demerara sugar

1 1/2 small eating apple, quartered (not cored or peeled)

3 eggs

1 1/2 oranges, finely grated zest

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

340g blackberries

and then just follow the same recipe (here) to make the most delicious apple & blackberry apple crumble cake, even the better for having picked the blackberries yourself!

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You’ve got a friand…

Ever since my recent trip to Bettys in York I’ve been obsessed with financiers and trying to find the perfect recipe to try out. I discovered a few that incorporated soft fruits such as apricots or raspberries and I suddenly remembered the blackberries that I had picked in September and stashed at the back of my freezer for an occasion just like this. On my new mission to find the perfect blackberry financier recipe I stumbled on this one by Yotam Ottolenghi for blackberry and star anise friands. What is a friand I hear you ask…and what have they got to do with financiers??? well… let me educate you… friands are based very closely on financiers and are very popular in New Zealand and Australia but you’re more likely to find additional flavours and ingredients in friands such as fruits, nuts or chocolate. I decided to give Ottolenghi’s recipe a go but, controversially maybe, decided to omit the star anise, mainly because I didn’t have any and was feeling too lazy on Sunday night to go and buy some but also because I felt that it was a bit of an acquired taste and didn’t want to overcomplicate my friands and swamp the delicate taste of the blackberries.

I liked the fact that you bake the friands straight into the cupcake tin as opposed to using paper cases as it gave them a gorgeous golden brown crust with a very pleasant crunch…

They were amazingly light and moist and the glaze, which was made by mixing strained blackberry pulp with icing sugar was the most amazing colour…

My friands looked so pretty when I left the house first thing this morning before they took an unexpected a nosedive on the bus. Luckily they stayed in their containers but looked a little worse for wear by the time I got them into work. Fortunately my colleagues/guinea pigs weren’t overly concerned with aesthetics and wolfed them down…after all friands will be friands!

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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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