Sunday, 12 August 2012

Gooseberry & Elderflower Cake with Orange Mascarpone Cream

So that’s week 3 of the holidays done. Time to celebrate with a mighty fine cake.

check out that picnic/outdoor play area
The last week has been particularly exciting. We headed North to stay with my parents in (mostly sunny) Yorkshire. In an almost unparalleled spurt of sight-seeing enthusiasm (probably brought on by the presence of la BF*) we had 2 days out, one to York, always a big hit, and the other over to Halifax and the delights of the Eureka National Children’s Museum. If you have kids under the age of 11, I would absolutely recommend this place. Not only is the museum completely interactive, but they have the most fantastic picnic/park facilities outside so you can take regular breaks for running around (adults too if you’re that desperate -  I’m sure no one would mind). It’s right next door to Halifax railway station, and the best thing is that our tickets turned out to be valid for a whole year so we can go back again. Seeing as my half term salvation is usually a week at Mum’s this is GOOD NEWS.

The Husband had to head off to Germany on Wednesday evening so I had the delights of the M1 southbound with my delightful children. All you need to know is that we got home in one piece.

 Time for a quick turnaround before our big day at Greenwich Park yesterday, to watch the show-jumping and combined running/shooting events of the Modern Pentathlon. Many people have written very eloquently about how wonderful and amazing the Olympics have been, and while I'm not going to expand (much) here, I cannot fault our experience yesterday. I was completely bowled over by how friendly London can be. I lived there once, many years ago, as a trainee solicitor, and go back reasonably regularly, and my experience yesterday right from getting off the train at Waterloo, was completely different from anything I have ever experienced.  Add to that the fact that the sport was amazing – I have no particular enthusiasm for modern pentathlon or the individual elements we saw, but I was completely sucked in, as were the kids. We witnessed skill, determination, endurance, great sportsman-ship - a truly fantastic experience.

Svoboda - new Olympic champion

On a more flippant note, I will read the showjumping bits in Riders (in my opinion, one of Ms Cooper's finest) with more interrest next time...

Woodbridge (Team GB)... err... jumping...

So here I am on Sunday, thinking this is all very well, but I haven’t actually cooked anything for a week now apart from boiling some pasta and a glut of beans from the garden (due to a week away), grating some cheese on top and calling it tea on Friday evening when I’d recovered from my motorway experience.

I got a piece of pork out of the freezer last night – one of the last joints left over from the half pig we purchased from our local friendly smallholder – ready for some form of slow roasting. Watch this space... However, pudding is sorted.

While we were at my mum’s, she fed us in fine style. She is a great cook, and had catered the whole week in advance, producing good family friendly meals out of the freezer every day. Nothing fancy, but great food – meatballs, fish pie, vegetable lasagne. However she excels at pudding (not dessert – definitely a pudding woman). She made this delicious pudding/cake using rhubarb and the juice of an orange. It disappeared in one sitting, although it should probably feed around 10. It totally inspired me and so this evening we had:

Gooseberry & Elderflower cake with orange mascarpone cream


For the cake: 300g gooseberries, topped & tailed; 200g golden caster sugar; 2 tablespoons elderflower cordial ; Finely grated zest of half an orange (you need half for the cake, half for the topping); 140g unsalted butter, softened; 2 eggs, beaten; ½ teaspoon of baking powder; 85g self raising flour; 100g ground almonds; and for the topping: 25g unsalted butter, 25g light soft brown sugar; Finely grated zest of half an orange; 50g flaked almonds; Icing sugar for dusting

For the mascarpone cream: 250g tub mascarpone; juice of about half an orange – you will need to add more or less depending on how orangey you would like your cream etc, 1-2 tsp sifted icing sugar (again, to taste).


Mix the gooseberries with 40 g of caster sugar, a tablespoon of elderflower cordial & ½ the orange zest and set aside for an hour, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5/ fan 170 & butter and line the base of a deep 23cm cake tin.

Cream together the butter and remaining sugar. Add the eggs, baking powder, flour, ground almonds and the remaining tablespoon of elderflower cordial. Beat gently but don’t over mix. Spoon the mixture into the tin and give the tin a couple of bangs down on the surface to level. Drain the gooseberries and spoon over the mixture. Pop it in the oven for 25 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the topping – melt the butter, then combine it with the sugar, the rest of the orange zest and the flaked almonds. After 25 minutes, reduce the heat of the oven to 180/gas4/fan160, take the cake out of the oven, sprinkle over the topping and return the cake to the oven for another 15-20 minutes (or until firm). If you need to Make the cake for longer and it looks like it might burn on top, cover the tin with foil. Cool in the tin.

Beat the mascarpone with the orange juice and sifted icing sugar to taste; Dust the cake with icing sugar and serve.

Try not to eat it all at once.

*la babysitter-francaise


  1. Ooh wow, this sounds like my kind of pudding/cake. We're hoping that the gooseberry bushes we planted last year might actually produce some fruit next year and then this cake is most definitely going to be made - looks delicious.

    1. It was totally lush. Mum did it with rhubarb and orange juice, and I'm also thinking apricots would work - love apricot/almond combo. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Oh this looks good, actually anything with orange mascarpone cream sounds good. Sounds like a good week too, I love York and fancy the Halifax museum too..

    1. Eureka is brill - I was really impressed. There's a really good 'how the body works' bit. Kids loved it.

  3. That cake looks absoloutely delicious! How lucky you are to have an amazing cook for a mum - it's such a treat to go to someone's else's house and have them cook, isn't it? Your days out sound great too. Especially the Olympics, how lucky to have spent the time there. I am so sad that we never got any tickets and now we're just about all booked up through the hols so can't make the paralympics either :(

    1. I find that when I go back to their house, I just regress and hand everything over to her - dog, kids... probably not particularly healthy. I have a huge amount to thank her for - especially her cakes :-)

  4. I am a huge cake fan and this one looks moist and delicious!

    1. Moist and delicious sums it up :-) it's lovely.

  5. Yum! This sounds heavenly, I'll be coming back to try it! :)


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