blackberry, basil and orange cake

In spite of a few chilly dull days when we first arrived back in Britain we do actually seem to be having summer here. Well as much of a summer as the UK ever has, and very pleasant it is too.

The regular doses of sunshine seem to be encouraging the blackberries to ripen a bit earlier than usual. I love blackberry picking. I know I’ve mentioned it before, it’s not just because it reminds me of my Grandma, although that is part of why I love it. What I really like is the fact that these crazy straggly bushes which grow like weeds become a mass of rich, sweet, dark purple, delicious fruit at the end of summer. There’s a footpath by my house where if you catch the season right you can gather bowls full of them (as long as you’re prepared to risk the odd prickle!) You can probably expect more blackberry recipes on here before the foraging season is out.

blackberry, basil and orange cake

This is such a lovely cake. Very tasty served plain as a teatime treat or delicious gussied up with some creme fraiche as a dessert. It’s soft and light and moist and flavourful. The sponge itself isn’t too sweet and the blackberries keep it in check with their fruity sharpness whilst the crunchy crumble topping is rich and buttery. Don’t be scared of the basil in this either, it works just as well in sweet dishes as savoury ones, although you can of course leave it out if it doesn’t float your boat.
This is the first recipe that I’ve created since we’ve moved back, in my old kitchen, which remains half unpacked and I was a bit nervous about it. I expected to have to make some tweaks here and there to account for now unfamiliar makes of ingredients and a different oven. But amazingly, and this may be more luck than skill, this recipe turned out perfectly first time! It certainly reminded me why I love this blogging mullarkey.

 

blackberry, basil and orange cake

Ingredients
Serves 10

Crumble topping
40g butter
10g sugar
60g plain flour
pinch of salt
zest of an orange

Cake
75g butter
85g sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
60g fat free Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp milk
big handful of basil leaves
130g (ish) blackberries (washed)

blackberry basil and orange cake

Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease and line a spring-form or loose-bottomed cake tin.
Put all the ingredients for the crumble topping into a bowl and gently rub them together with your finger tips to combine them so that they look like breadcrumbs. Put this in the fridge for later.
Cream together the butter, salt and sugar until they are quite fluffy. Beat the eggs into this, one at a time, following each one with a spoonful of flour to prevent them from curdling. Sift in the remaining flour along with the baking powder, to ensure that they are well blended and then briefly beat the mixture to combine everything.
Mix through the yoghurt and then the milk, to loosen the batter.

blackberry, basil and orange cake

Slice the basil into fine slivers and then fold this and the blackberries through the cake mixture. I like to keep a few berries back to push into the top of the cake just before baking.
Scrape the cake batter into the prepared tin and smooth off the top a bit. Scatter over the crumble topping and then gently push any berries that you have left into the surface of the cake.
Bake the cake for 45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Leave it to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes and then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

blackberry basil and orange cake