This weekend, inspired by The Great British Bake Off, I had great intentions of trying a filled loaf. I’d written up a recipe, drawn a sketch of how I expected it to look, and was ready to bake it when some unexpected plumbing issues wrought havoc with my schedule (and my kitchen!). Once I’d sorted them out and bleached the kitchen back into a state of hygiene, I’d lost a good few hours and the loaf was unachievable.
Still, since we had guests visiting for the Bank Holiday I worked fast and managed to pull off a San Francisco Sourdough, two quiches (and jam tarts with leftover pastry) and this beauty: a cinnamon and blackberry cake.
Last week my parents returned from the New Forest with some freshly picked blackberries, which reminded me of a Dan Lepard recipe from Short and Sweet that I’d been wanting to try for a while. If you don’t own the book, you can see the recipe here, or copied below.
I was pleasantly surprised, since I’ve not really made that many cakes before. And I’d expected a cake made with wholemeal flour to be quite dense. But this really is just about the lightest cake I’ve ever eaten – due, I’m sure, to the length of time whisking the eggs. (It will feel like it’s taking an age, and you’ll want to give up at various points – but keep going!)
I was slightly worried that the cinnamon would be overbearing, but it really wasn’t and the golden syrup gave it a delicate sweetness. I did make a slight tweak to the recipe, since I’d rather foolishly realised that the only wholemeal flour I had was strong, and I feared that would make it more bread-like than cloud-like! So I did 1/3 strong wholemeal to 2/3 plain white and the result was perfectly good. It also took an extra 10 minutes to cook, since I’m still trying to figure out our oven and have come to the conclusion it’s not great for cakes.
All in all, a success. And one I shall definitely be repeating.
4 eggs at room temperature
200g caster sugar
50g golden syrup
150g wholewheat flour
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
100ml cold milk
1 small tub double cream
1 punnet blackberries (or blackberry jam)
Icing sugar, for dusting
Line (or flour/butter) a 20cm round cake tin, and preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
Using an electric whisk, beat the eggs, sugar and syrup until pale and thick, and the mixture falls like thick ribbons when the beaters are lifted from the bowl.
Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, tipping back any bran that the sieve collects (this helps to add further air to the mixture). Add the milk to the beaten eggs and whisk, then add the flour and whisk again until just smooth.
Pour this into the cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 35 mins (covering with foil for the last 10 mins if necessary). When a skewer inserted comes out clean, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Lightly whip the cream, halve the blackberries, then slice the cake across horizontally and fill with a layer of each. Reassemble and dust with icing sugar.