Faced with a day off work in order to catch up with paperwork and gardening, what did I do? Make cake, of course. Procrastination is such fun.
A mug of tea and a slice of cake is one of the great rewards after a good potter round the plot and as the veg patch is at least offering up soft fruits at the moment, this recently discovered cake sprang to mind today. I haven't done a recipe on the blog for a long time but, I hope you'll agree, this one is worth sharing, especially as the summer may be on its way finally and tea in the garden can take its rightful place once more.
I found this cake via Pinterest; it's originally baked with just blueberries and called Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake. While my renaming of the adapted cake is not so alliterative, it tells it like it is. This is a cake that celebrates the soft fruit harvest of the summer kitchen garden. I used mostly blueberries, topped up with raspberries, strawberries (and, this time, sweet cherries); with lemon zest, vanilla and buttermilk, it's full of subtle flavours - I also used some of my lavender sugar* for the top crust.
Baked in a square tin, it looks like a traybake; the crisp sugar crusted top yields to a light, moist crumb with bursts of soft fruit. Because I've now made it twice, I know that it's also heavenly warmed through and served with cream or custard as a pudding.
The original recipe came from this American blog; I've reworked it to grams rather than cups. Interestingly, I first made it to be shared with someone who is dairy intolerant so it was made with dairy free sunflower spread to replace the butter and soya milk instead of buttermilk. It worked perfectly.
Blueberry, etc, traybake cake:
100g sunflower spread or butter
200g caster sugar (keep a couple of spoonfuls back for the top)
Finely grated zest of a largish lemon
1 medium egg
1 teaspoon vanilla (extract not flavouring)
300g self raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
300g fresh soft fruit, eg. 200g blueberries plus 100g strawberries/raspberries, etc
140ml Buttermilk (about half a carton)
1. Preheat oven to 350F or 180C. Cream butter, lemon zest and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat well.
3. Take out a couple of spoonfuls of the flour and gently toss the soft fruit in this.
4. Mix the remaining flour, baking powder and salt together; Add to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk.
5. Fold in the blueberries/strawberries/other fruit.
6. Line an 8" square tin with baking parchment, spoon the cake mix in and sprinkle a good tablespoon of sugar over the top. Pop into the oven, middle shelf. I check the cake with a skewer after 20 minutes and it always needs another 5 minutes. Adjust the time in 5 minute increments for your own oven. (The original recipe calls for a 9" pan and 35 minutes; in my oven this would be a disaster so I err on the side of caution.)
7. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before lifting the cake out onto a cooling rack.
* Lavender sugar is a lovely thing to have for use in the kitchen, it gives a subtle flavour to cakes, biscuits, etc. Karen at Lavender and Lovage has a nice easy post on how to make your own.