It’s been a bumper year for blackberries in the UK. I don’t know about you but my freezer is well stocked already! So it’s then no surprise that I should make a delicious, moist seasonal cake, packed with juicy blackberries, apples and flavoured with bay and cinnamon.
These hardy and determined brambles use powerful roots to grow rapidly in almost any environment. It can’t have escaped your notice the hedgerows and verges are teaming with juicy berries this year. Did you know there are over 1000 micro-species of blackberry in the UK alone? I pick as many as I possibly can, freeze on trays, then store in boxes in the freezer to dip into later in the year.
I’m lucky enough to have a friend who gifts me apples from her garden every year. I love this particular variety, it has sweet, marbled pink flesh, which looks so pretty in tarts and cakes such as this. Royal Worcester, Cox or Spartan would work equally well. Here are a few more British varieties. This recipe is very straight forward; incorporated grated apple in the cake batter adds a little natural sweetness and texture. Adding ground almonds guarantees a moist cake that keeps well for several days. Blackberries have a slightly floral flavour with earthy undertones. Bay, in my view balances and rounds off these two flavours beautifully, which is why I like to add it to the stewed fruit.
This Blackberry, Bay and Apple Cake is lovely for a fika, afternoon tea or even as a dessert. I like to serve this plain, but if you are going down the dessert route, a dollop of thick Greek style yogurt or creme fraiche would not go amiss.
Blackberry, Bay and Apple Cake
- 1 20cm cake tin
- 150 g blackberries
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- 125 g butter room temperature
- 125 g caster sugar
- 2 large free range eggs lightly beaten
- 125 g self-raising flour
- 45 g ground almond
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 25 ml
- 1 tbls demerara sugar
- Small handful skinned hazelnuts roughly chopped
- 2-3 small dessert apples ie. Rosette or Royal Worcester
- Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Grease a 20cm cake tin. Line the base with baking paper. Reserve 30g blackberries. Place the remaining blackberries and tablespoon caster sugar and the bay leaf in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 mins or until the mixture thickens a little. Set aside to cool completely. Once cool move the bay leaf.
- Combine the flour, ground almond and cinnamon, set to one side.
- Use a free standing mixer to beat the butter and sugar until really pale and creamy. Add the egg, a little at a time, beating in between each addition. Add the a third of the dry ingredients at a time. After the second addition add the milk, then follow with the last of the flour. Grate one apple, (I leave the skin on). Stir into the cake batter. Spoon half of the cake mixture into the tin. Spoon over the blackberry mixture. Smooth the surface. Top with the remaining cake batter. Peal, core and slice the remaining apple. Arrange on the top with the reserved blackberries. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and hazelnuts.
- Bake for 45-48 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
Also worth noting, I use a 20 cm cake tin in this recipe. A slightly smaller tin will make for a slightly taller cake. It will take longer to bake too. Just make sure to keep an eye on it in the oven, and test it with a cocktail stick, it should come away clean towards the end of cooking.
If you love a moist cake and like pears then you really should try this Spiced Pear & Rye Cake.