The Berry Season Madness

I love summer, and it’s not only because the weather is nice (it really isn’t this year) or there’s less work (there really isn’t this year). It’s also because it’s the fresh produce season which makes a big difference to anyone who loves cooking or baking with things grown locally. So when I heard that my friends are offering fresh blackcurrants and redcurrants, I signed up to take some off their hands. Little did I know that I will end up with a kitchen loaded with berries and only a couple of free evenings a week later. As I’m not a person to shy away from a challenge, I got creative!

When I received a phone call one late Sunday morning informing me that I will get a personal delivery of blackcurrants and redcurrants later that day, I started making plans. One cannot really pass on the opportunity of baking a cake with fresh berries; therefore, I checked what ingredients I have at home. Luckily I had some eggs and butter, and there’s always (ok, ok… almost always) flour and sugar in my pantry. It wouldn’t make a fancy cake, but I could whip up something simple in no time. That’s exactly what I did that Sunday evening, and I have posted the recipe below.

kuka1

Next, I prepared some of the berries for freezing. The winter is coming, and I prefer to have my own stash of frozen summer goodies. Then came the complicated part. I figured that I could do something a bit more interesting with the redcurrants than just making jam or marmalade. I found a redcurrant & rosemary chutney recipe online, and I had to make it. I used the recipe almost to the letter so I won’t repeat it here (you can check the original version on BBC Good Food). I doubled the amount of everything except the garlic which I left out entirely. I have to say the result is better than I expected! It goes superbly with cheese.

Finally, I did make some jam, but from blackcurrants. I infused it with a bit of cinnamon and orange to make it slightly more interesting. I think it came out pretty good! And I ended up with a lot more jars than in the picture below 🙂

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So about that cake…

It is probably the simplest and easiest cake I know. The original recipe is made with strawberries, but it works well with other berries and fruit too (whatever is in the season, really). No need for special skills or a lot of time!

Ingredients:

  • 90 g soft butter
  • 150 g sugar (white or brown)
  • 190 g flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 – 3 table spoons milk
  • pinch of salt
  • blackcurrants

Preparation:

  1. Heat up the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare a baking tray. I used a round one with 24 cm in diameter, lined the bottom with parchment paper and used butter on the sides.
  2. Put the butter and the sugar in a bowl and whip it together till it gets lighter and fluffier (you know the drill).
  3. Add the eggs one by one mixing them in each time. Slightly whip up the mixture afterwards and add the milk.
  4. Mix the flour with cinnamon, baking powder and salt. I love cinnamon, so I always use two teaspoons or even a bit more. If it’s not your favorite, use just one teaspoon.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. I did it gradually in 3 to 4 takes mixing everything together in between.
  6. Pour the mixture into the baking tray and even it out all over. It will be quite thick and sticky, but try to get an even layer.
  7. Clean a good amount of blackcurrants and even them out on top of the cake. Lightly push them into the mixture. With strawberries, plums or other larger fruit, you might want to cut them in half and press them into the mixture a bit deeper.
  8. If you like your cakes on the sweet side, I would advise sprinkling some sugar over the top. If not, just pop the tray into the oven for 30 to 40 minutes (you’ll have to check in after half an hour to see if it’s ready or needs more time in the oven).
  9. Take it out and let it cool! You can serve it with whipped cream or ice-cream to balance out the tartness of blackcurrants.

Enjoy!

 

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