The end of summer can bring with it some good allotment days. Granted, there are weeds fighting to take over the minute I turn my back, but there is also warm weather and some half decent harvest. I never loose the trill of picking something from the plot, however small or un-perfect its appearance. Our rather scabby looking cucumbers are bursting with flavour and the rainbow chard and curly kale just keep on giving.
On our most recent visit we came home with a good picking of raspberries and blackberries, which I used to make my new favourite cake: Blackberry, Almond & Cardamom. I love an almond based recipe, adore cardamom and am always up for a blackberry, so this cake really is my cup-of-tea. The recipe is from Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking ... Scandilicious - probably my most thumbed cookbook this summer.
We ate the cake (with a dollop of mascarpone) and polystyrene cups of tea on the beach with friends who had come down to visit at the weekend. Just perfect.
Blackberry, Almond & Cardamom Cake
125g butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium eggs
250g ground almonds
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp salt
200g fresh or frozen blackberries
200g summer berries to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas mark 4 and lightly oil a 23cm round cake tin.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time along with a tablespoonful of the ground almonds to stop the mixture splitting.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the rest of the ground almonds with the baking powder, cardamom and salt.
Use a large metal spoon to fold these dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Stir until just blended, then add the blackberries and stir once or twice more to incorporate them.
Scoop the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the middle oven shelf for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is well risen, looks golden brown and feels firm to the touch. Let it cool in its tin on a wire rack before turning out.Serve the cake either on its own or with mixed summer fruits piled on top and with some sour cream, crème fraiche or mascarpone.
This is quite a moist cake, so it will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight tin or wrapped in foil.
Photographs: Buttercup Days