As the season begins to rapidly transition into Autumn browns, hot chocolates & brisk evenings (& lots of pumpkin posts), before we bid our last farewell to summer & dig out the comfort of wool quite yet, there is one last hope for us sunshine idolisers.. hedgerows.
Wander to the bottom of the garden, veer off down that country lane & you’ll find the glorious abundance of blackberries that September brings to our hedgerows. Juicy, purple jewels eagerly awaiting foraging.
Of course, you could just as well cheat & use shop-bought blackberries (I won’t judge). If you do indulge in a little foraging though, prepare your blackberries by filling a large bowl with cold water & 1tsp of salt. Gently tip them in & leave undisturbed for a couple of hours (this will kill off any little nasties). Rinse them very gently & drain well until dry.(Be sure to pick before October 10th, folklore suggests that the devil spoils all blackberries after this date, it’s either that or the weather..).
Juicy blackberries lend themselves well to many dishes, pies, crumbles, jams , they’re the perfect partner to crunchy apples. Today however, I offer it in humble cake form. The slightly tart but sweet taste of blackberries paired with the freshness of orange really works well together in this cake, both flavours shine through perfectly. It’s not a large, towering cake but one that is small & has a simple, rustic charm (I did manage to devour this cake by the quarter in a rather unhumanly timescale). Serve with a heavy handed pouring of double cream for pure comfort eating joy.
BLACKBERRY & ORANGE CAKE
(makes one 20cm cake)
- 125g butter
- 175g soft light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- zest x1 orange
- 100ml buttermilk
- 150g wholemeal flour
- 50g plain flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 150g blackberries
- 2 tbsp demerara sugar (to top)
- Grease & line a round 20cm springform cake tin
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter & sugar
- Add in the eggs, vanilla extract, orange zest & beat again
- Stir through half of the buttermilk (50ml)
- In a separate bowl sift together the flours & baking powder
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixture & fold through
- Repeat this, stirring through the remaining buttermilk & folding in the remainder of the dry ingredients
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin
- Gently push the blackberries into the mixture, only placing them halfway in (they will sink as the cake bakes)
- Evenly sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top of the cake
- Bake at 180°C for 50 minutes
- Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes in its tin before running a knife along its edge & releasing the clip
- Cool for a further 5 minutes before removing from its tin completely & allowing to cool fully on a cooling rack
Dust with icing sugar for that finishing touch