20 Jul 2012

Traybake: Summer Soft-fruit Cake

Blueberry Breakfast Cake 4


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 Breakfast Cake 3

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.

19 comments:

  1. Your recipe sounds heavenly, must make some!

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    1. Definitely yes, Pauline! It's one of those cakes where it's obligatory to lick the bowl and spoon! (Luckily I was on my own yesterday so I got the spoon to myself!) Another great way to eat fruit!

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    1. Your eyes are not deceiving you, Bridget! Excellent cake to take when out for a walk, or camping, or just sitting in the garden or kitchen table at home.

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  3. Yummy. I'm just waiting for my blueberries to ripen, perhaps they'll be ready when I get home from holiday.

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    1. Wouldn't that be something to look forward to? We're waiting so patiently for some sun to ripen everything up and make all our efforts worthwhile, I feel sure it will happen soon - fingers crossed!

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  4. Looks yum, hope my blueberries are ready for next week.

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    1. Given the promised sunshine, we'll all be complaining of gluts in a couple of weeks! Fresh blueberries though, yum, and so many ways to use them up!!

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  5. Caro - you are a little gem producing something so yummy looking - I really must get another blueberry bush.

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    1. No such thing as too many blueberry bushes, Elaine. Give this cake a whirl when you're next in a baking mode, you won't be disappointed!

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  6. Yummy! Don't you just love Pinterest for dessert ideas?

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    1. And not just desserts Tanya! Lots of fabulous recipes for all the lovely stuff in the garden too! Oh, I could waste hours just browsing there ..... ! xx

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    2. Oh I know...I spend [waste] plenty of time looking at all the pretty pictures ;)

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  7. Hi Aunty Caro, this looks very delicious. Quick question before I make a special trip to the shops- can I replace the buttermilk? Girls are on holiday and this looks ideal for them to have a go at (and of course to eat the results!). Thank you, love Claire xxx

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    1. Thank you, Claire. This will be very easy for the girls to make and will be eaten in no time at all!
      The cake is wonderfully moist and light which I think is due to the buttermilk. Apparently (quick Google research) buttermilk's acidity interacts with the gluten in the flour to loosen it, thereby making a lighter cake. This way you can use plain flour without baking powder (which can have a metallic taste). I wanted a nice light cake so I used buttermilk AND self raising flour! If you can't find buttermilk, you can use soured cream or yogurt. You can also add a little squeeze of lemon juice to milk and use that instead of buttermilk. Basically, you're introducing a note of acidity into the recipe (some people recommend adding vinegar to milk or cream, which sounds revolting to me!)

      I'd use what you have in, i.e. greek or any other kind of plain yogurt. I think I had another recipe to use up the buttermilk so that none of it was wasted (probably the recipe for making moss to paint on the garden walls and flowerpots!!) xxx

      PS. Let me know how it turns out - you can also use apricots, apple, pear or any other fruit rather than buying blueberries in specially.

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  8. This looks delicious and with that much fruit you just have to eat lots to be healthy .....don't you!! :-)

    Sue xx

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    1. My sentiments exactly, Sue! And, believe me, I did eat lots ... every time I popped into the kitchen in fact! xx
      (I would say that this cake keeps well, but you're unlikely to have any leftovers. ; )

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  9. Can't believe I missed this post. Glad I finally found it. Will definitely be giving this a go. My freezer is full of frozen fruit so I need new ideas for using it. Shame the black birds have eaten most of my blueberries!

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    1. I find it hard to find the time to read all the blog posts that I'd like to and sometimes have a prolonged catching up sessions. It's easy to miss posts that way, but I'm glad you found your way to this one! All soft fruits are tempting for the birds and I hate to net the bushes off as it makes picking harder. Perhaps a few diversions nearby might work? Bird table with tasty bird food on it?

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Comments on my posts are much appreciated and help to build an online community of blog friends. Everyone is welcome! I love to discover new blogs so please leave a comment to introduce yourself.
Caro x

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