There's a definite Autumnal chill to the mornings - mists and mellow fruitfulness abounding (more about the mellow fruitfulness to come, as you'd probably guessed).
You can tell the seasons are on the turn - the swallows are massing, chattering noisily before swooping off to make a few turns then returning to the telephone wire, eventually to push off to warmer climes.
The holidaymakers have dwindled with the return to school, leaving the roads clearer and the beaches emptier - but the sun is still shining
Someone, I can' t remember who, queried whether there'd be blackberries here, this close to the sea, but I'm pleased to say that there are - and they are beautiful. One of the things about moving house is that it's the little things that you have to rediscover that can be the most tricky - where to get your tyres changed, where to go to the dentist, where to pick your blackberries... Believe me, the blackberries were a great concern.
But I needn't have worried. The lanes where the dog gets his standard walk (counting down the days now till we can hit our favourite beaches again) are full of the most fantastic blackberries.- luscious and plentiful. I am scratched and stung, but can't resist another 'pick' each time we go out.
Not only blackberries, but apples are also plentiful, and we've been in receipt of various bags of locally grown bounty. It's fantastic.
This cake came originally from a Good Food recipe, but my cake tins are slightly bigger than those required by the original recipe, and after much bitter complaining (well, perhaps I exaggerate) by the Husband that there's never any cake left by the time he gets to the tins, I decided to make not just one cake (which I was going to do, to take to a new friend who has invited me round for a coffee tomorrow), but 2. So I've increased the recipe accordingly to give two 23 cm cakes. If you want to just make one cake, the link is above, but when has having 2 cakes ever been a problem? I think this will probably freeze well - although perhaps leave off the hazelnuts and icing sugar.
What makes this cake is the ground almonds, I mean I know I'm a fan and everything, but it really does make a delicious moist sponge, a perfect foil to the tangy fruit. The hazelnuts make a good crunch, and eaten warm with a blob of cream, well, it's just a taste of the Welsh - English - British Autumn.
Blackberry & Apple Cake
juice of half a lemon
4 small- medium sized cooking apples
290g unsalted butter, softened
290g caster sugar
7 large eggs
230g self raising flour
70g ground almonds
For the topping
4 tbsp demerara sugar
50g unsalted butter
a good shake of cinammon
50g peeled toasted hazelnuts
icing sugar for dusting
You also need 2 x 23 cm springform tins, greased and lined.
Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
Put the lemon juice in a bowl, peel and core the apples and cut each into 12 slices and toss the slices into the lemon juice - this will stop them going brown before you fold the slices into the cake batter.
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Whisk together the eggs, then slowly add 2/3 of the mixture to the butter & sugar, beating all the time. If the mixture looks curdled, add a little of the flour.
Once 2/3 of the eggs have been beaten in thoroughly, fold in the remaining eggs, then the flour and ground almonds.
Fold in the blackberries and most of the apple slices to the batter, then divide between the 2 tins.
Bang down the tins and smooth down the batter gently, then scatter over the remaining apple slices.
Put the sugar and cinnammon for the topping into a bowl and chop through the butter as if you were making a crumble topping. Sprinkle this over the 2 cakes then bake them for 50-60 minutes till a skewer comes out clean.
When the cakes come out of the oven, sprinkle over the hazelnuts, then leave to cool, dusting with icing sugar before serving warm with the breath of the oven and some lovely cream (although feel free to eat it cold with a cup of tea too).