Thursday, 23 July 2015

Blackberry, Almond and Saffron Cake.





(remember to not accidentally tip in the vanilla pod in the sugar bowl)


What do you do when you grab the blackberries before the birds get to them? You bake a cake!
I find that these are a difficult currant to grow without a greenhouse, and I can honestly say that these beautiful berries were in fact from the grocery market. The very few blackberries that we were able to pick went straight into a pot on the stove to make a concentrated juice.

What I love about this recipe is the slight density of the sponge, it brings out the almond and saffron flavours in every bite. I would recommend to not be so generous with the almond extract if you are not the biggest lover of almonds. However, I adore the burst of flavour mixed with the blackberries that delightfully rest on top!

Ingredients:
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 
- ¼ cup almond meal
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

- A pinch of crushed sea salt 
- ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup golden caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads 
- ¼ cup whole milk
- Grated zest of 1 whole lemon
- 2 teaspoons pure almond extract
- A large bowl (300 grams) blackberries


1. Preheat the oven to 180ยช and line a 22cm springform cake tin with a little spot of butter and greaseproof paper.


2. Using an electric whisk, mix together the softened butter and sugar together for around 3 minutes until creamy and pale. Crack in the eggs one at a time until combined into a fluffy mix.


3. Pour the milk into a saucepan (or a microwavable bowl) and saffron threads, heat this up just until the milk starts to bubble. The saffron changes the colour of the milk into a deep saffron yellow. Set aside for a few minutes to allow to cool.


4. While the milk is cooling, finely grate the zest of a lemon along with the almond extract. Add the milk and gently mix in with a spatula. Finishing off combining these ingredients with the electric whisk, using the spatula first is a simple way to avoid any splashes while whisking.


5. Pour the dry ingredients: flour, almond, baking powder and a pinch of salt into the mixing bowl. On lowest speed whisk this altogether until a delicious cake mixture has formed.


6. Dollop the mixture into the cake tin and smooth over with a spatula. After rinsing and patting the blackberries dry, arrange neatly on top of the cake. It will be likely that they won't all fit, so try to squeeze them into any small spaces remaining. Overall, the blackberries will sink slightly into the cake, so perfection isn't key. (sob)


7. Pop the cake into the oven for 50 - 55 minutes, test the cake with a skewer making sure that the centre has cooked through. Allow to cool for a few minutes before unlatching the sides of the tin off.


Let the cake cool completely until serving with a delicious cup of Lady Grey.... Or a bowl of blueberries? I am encouraging the summer fruits!

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