Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Blackberry and lavender cake

Is the summer over already?

The garden has been wet and windy, and as we wait for the second crop of lettuce to emerge and the tomatoes to ripen it's all looking a bit barren... Apart from the entirely unintentional harvest of blackberries that is! The bushes are groaning with the dark little berries, beckoning me to make some sort of cake perhaps..?

A recipe for a very seasonal cake: garden berries baked with lavender brought this week by my lovely mum from her garden in Sussex. The crumble topping gives a nice textural contrast and the berry cream makes it all look terribly flash with minimum effort.

For the cake:

150g room temperature butter
200g golden caster sugar
3 medium eggs and 2 egg yolks
150g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
30g ground almonds
1 tsp dried lavender, crushed
200g blackberries

For the crumble topping:

50g cold butter, cut into small cubes
50g demerara sugar
100g plain flour
50g blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped

and to top ~

150ml double cream
100g blackberries
1 tbsp sugar

1) First make the cake: whisk the butter and sugar until pale and creamy then add the eggs one by one. Gently fold in the dry ingredients and then finally stir in the blackberries.

2) Grease and line a 25cm springform cake tin and pour in the cake mixture. Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4.

3) Now make the crumble topping by placing all the ingredients into a bowl and gently rubbing between your fingertips until the butter is evenly distributed. Scatter over the top of the cake, then bake for 50 mins-1 hour, or until the top is golden and a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean.

4) To make the berry cream, gently poach the blackberries and sugar with a tablespoon of water for 5 mins, then push through a sieve. When cold, stir into gently whipped cream, and serve with the warm or cold cake.

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