Sunday, 15 September 2013

Almost Autumn? Blackberry & Apple Cake

Much as I love the summer (well, a decent summer, one where the sun shines, and it only rains about once a week) my favourite season is Autumn. All that mists and mellow fruitfulness, the tang in the early morning air that hits the back of your nose, days still warm, but nights getting cooler. When I was working in London, I used to love the warmer days of early Autumn, escaping from the office for lunch in St James' Park, where the softer sun made the buildings of Birdcage Walk and Horseguards glow.

Pumpkin soup in the making...

Now that we're ensconsed in reasonably rural Hampshire, it's not just the glow of buildings that heralds the change of the seasons. Blackberries and sloes in the hedgerows, the pumpkins, frankly, enormous in the veg patch, massive spiders patrolling the corridors of the house (we're talking spiders so big, you can hear the plop when they hit the pavement after you chuck them out of the windows), spiders' webs festooning the apple trees - and wonderful apples.  We're lucky to have cookers and eaters in the garden, and this year has been a good year.

This weekend has been the first for a long time that we've been at home on a Sunday. Although we had a beautiful autumnal morning, the rain showed no mercy and by lunchtime, was firmly set in, good for nothing but a wet dog walk and homework. Fortunately, roast pork was on the menu for dinner - with apple sauce made with the cookers, and for pudding, Blackberry & Apple cake, inspired by a recipe I've read many times in Good Food, but have never got round to making, crumble always prevailing. This is a little more effort than a crumble, but well worth it. 

Apples & spiders' webs. Autumn is on the way

juice of half a lemon
2 large, sharp eating apples
150g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the tin 
130g soft light brown sugar 
3 large eggs, beaten 
50g ground almonds 
100g self-raising flour 
100g blackberries 
1 large pinch cinnamon  
2 tbsp demerara sugar
 icing sugar, for dusting 
Butter a 23cm springform cake tin and line with greaseproof paper.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C
Put the lemon juice in a bowl, then peel and core the apples, slice each apple into 12 and put the slices into the lemon juice. This will stop the slices discolouring while you make the rest of the cake.

Beat together 125g of the butter with the sugar till pale and fluffy, then slowly beat in the eggs, adding a little flour if the mixture starts to curdle.

Once all the egg has been incorporated, beat in the rest of the flour and the ground almonds.

Stir in 2/3 of the apple (16 slices), and the blackberries, then scrape into the prepared tin. Arrange the remaining slices of apple over the top, then mix together the demerara sugar and cinammon. Sprinkle this over the top of the cake, followed by the remaining 25g of butter, cut into thin flakes. Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes till a skewer (or whatever you use to test a cake) comes out clean.

Leave to cool till warm. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
The cake is moist and tasty enough to eat just as it is - but it would go just as well with cream, creme fraiche - or custard as the weather gets colder. Just make sure you get plenty of blackberries in the freezer!


  1. This is also my fabourite time of year and the hedgerows have tons of lovely plump blackberries this year.
    The cake looks delicious, thanks for the recipe.

    1. It's lovely, IN fact, I am having difficult resisting the leftovers which are in the frdige. Think they will be lovely with a cup of tea...

  2. Oooh sounds delicious! And I love the 'plop' of a spider...

    1. :-) and so satisfying to know that they are outside and not inside!

  3. That cake sounds delicious! Love the photos too, especially the dewy web! :)

    1. Thanks Emma - it's very good cake - I am trying to resist a large slice of the leftovers just now. Thanks for saying nice things about my photos - I had great fun out in the garden yesterday morning trying to get a good shot - am not particularly 'arty'...

  4. Lovely cake. You're a better woman than I ignoring it in the fridge.. I agree with Emma, lovely photographs

    1. Hmmm. You know, I did say I was TRYING to resist...

  5. I'm with you - autumn is the best - just LOVE the flavors and this blackberry and apple cake is a sure winner - looks and sounds totally scrumptious :))
    Mary x


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