Autumn has well and truly arrived, and the hedgerows around here are dripping with blackberries. If you’re anything like me you’ve probably collected enough to sink a small ship, but fortunately I’ve found an easy (and tasty) way to use them up.


For me autumn foraging has become a kind of compulsion – I can’t walk past a hedgerow without snaffling a few berries. I think the appeal lies in feeling that connection with nature: foraging is all about knowing the landscape around you, finding the best spots for each kind of fruit, waiting for the right season, and then casually strolling past every week or so to check on them until they’re finally ready to pick. Then in a month or two they’re gone, and the yearly cycle moves on.

Disclaimer: not a recommended blackberrying technique – because that would be unhygenic. Apparently.

Still there’s only so many blackberries I can eat raw without feeling ill, so I tend to pad them out with cake – because why not? This blackberry and almond cake is best served warm, with cream, after a crisp autumnal walk…

Ingredients

  • 115g butter, softened
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 40g self-raising flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 340g blackberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to fan 180°/gas5. Line the base of a 20cm spring-form tin with baking parchment, then lightly oil the tin.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy
  3. Gradually whisk in the eggs, a little at a time.
  4. Add the almond extract
  5. Stir in the flour, followed by the ground almonds.
  6. Stir in the milk, then spoon half the mixture into the tin.
  7. Gently level the surface, then lay half the blackberries on top.
  8. Add the rest of the mix, level, and lightly press the remaining blackberries into the top.
  9. Liberally sprinkle the top with 2 tbsp caster sugar, then place the cake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  10. Leave the cake in the tin for 3-4 minutes, then carefully remove.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature, with cream.

Top tip: if the cake is browning too fast, then cover with a sheet of foil that has a small hole cut into the centre.

Enjoy! If you have any other ways to use up the blackberry glut then I’d love to hear them.

Blackberry and almond cake

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