I used up some of the first of the blackberries I picked a couple of weeks in a Signe Johansen Blackberry & Almond Cardamom cake that I found on the Guild of Food Writers website. The original is gluten free but I didn't have enough ground almonds, or baking powder, or even ground cardamom for that matter, but it was still delicious. However, what it also inspired was the cake I took along to cake club, combined with the Seldom Seen Chai Cake that I made ages and ages ago.
I made the chai up first thing, and the Husband complained that it made the house smell horrible, but I think it was because it was combined with the smell of vinegar soaking chutney ingredients. Not a great odour to greet the day with, I'll accept.
Anyway, I was pleased with the resulting cake: less gingery than the original, more cardamom and run through with blackberries, covering the theme 'Indian Summer' both meteorologically and geographically to provide a gently spiced cake bursting with the best the British (well, in the case, the Welsh) hedgerow has to offer at this time of year.
Cardamom Blackberry Cake with Lemon Icing
For the Chai
350ml semi-skimmed milk
12 cardamom pods, bashed in a pestle and mortar
1 cinammon stick
2 regular tea bags
For the Cake
170g unsalted butter
200g golden syrup
50g dark soft brown sugar
30 cardamom pods
300g wholemeal self raising flour
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
200ml chai (made as above)
For the Icing
200g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
200g icing sugar
lemon juice - about 3/4 of a lemon's worth
You'll also need a lined 20cm cake tin
Make the chai first by pouring the milk into a small pan, adding the rest of the ingredients and simmering gently for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then strain in to a jug. You need 200ml for the cake so add a little more milk if necessary.
Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
Put the butter, syrup and sugar into a pan and melt gently, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Bash up the cardamom pods, scrape out the seeds, discard the husks, then grind the seeds up in a pestle and mortar.
Add the ground up seeds, the flour, ground ginger and salt into a bowl and stir together. Pour in the melted butter and syrup mixture, stir in the eggs and finally the chai, then fold in the blackberries.
Bake for around an hour till a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs on it, then leave to cool before icing.
Make the icing by creaming together the butter and icing sugar then slowly adding the lemon juice till you have a delightfully spreadable icing that also zings with lemon. This will lift the cake to new heights that are well worth reaching, believe me!