This is my first ‘iPhone post’! I’ve taken the photos, written the post and published it, all on my phone. A very different approach for me because I love the photography and editing aspect of blogging, but I’ve realised that if I’m ever again going to be able to find the time to blog, I need a streamlined process! So here’s to the ‘magic box’- where would we be without you? 📱❤️
The pictures might not be quite as fancy on the iPhone (in fact, these are pretty terrible, I apologise. I’ll try and get them in focus next time!). But I have been able to take far more step by step photos along the way, which is sort of the fun bit, isn’t it?
And because it’s nice to have a delicious tray bake cake that you can leave on the counter to cut a little slice from every now and then. In fact, I recently came across the term ‘snack cake’ in one of my American cookbooks and I think that’s a great name for this type of cake. It’s for snacking, lunch boxes, or just to accompany cups of tea.
Though this is all making it sound quite boring- I promise it’s not. It’s a truly delicious cake. The best cake I make, according to Ed’s mum. So there! Don’t be fooled by its modest exterior and sensible squareness. It’s really pretty tasty. If you wanted to let it shine, it would be awesome with a drizzle of double cream or with custard to eat as dessert.
The fruit is soft and tangy against the sweet cake. Blackberries and apples may be best friends, but they can still see other people now and then. Apples love lemon, and both apples and blackberries love spice. It’s a big love-in of flavours.
I let the chunks of fruit sink to the bottom of the cake. It’s fine. (But if you don’t want them to sink you could toss them in a little flour before folding them through the cake batter.)
The amazing thing about blackberries is that they grow everywhere at this time of year and you can pick them and they’re freeeee! Which makes them taste even better in my opinion. I have to fight the temptation to dive out of the car at traffic lights when I see the best blackberries just bobbing along on their branch right there by the side of the road! Good thing I have them in the garden. Safer.
Give them a wash to remove any critters. You don’t need extra protein in this recipe. Set the berries aside.
In a large bowl, weigh out flour, sugar, spice, lemon zest, salt and baking powder. Then add room temperature chunks of butter. You’re going to mix this all together before adding any liquid. It’s all going to be fine, trust me.
Mix the flour, sugar, spice, zest, baking powder and salt together with the butter. I use my KitchenAid (paddle attachment) but you could do it by hand or with an electric whisk. The butter will coat the flour mixture and it will turn into something that looks like fine breadcrumbs.
Say to yourself “I just used the reverse creaming method.” Because you did! Or rather, you are using it right now! The RCM (as no one but me calls it) makes for a beautifully textured cake with a fine crumb. Because science.
Then whisk up 5 eggs, some buttermilk, lemon juice and some vanilla in a jug. Pour a 1/4 of it onto your cake ‘breadcrumbs’ and mix until combined. Then add another 1/4. Mix. 1/4. Mix. 1/4. Mix. Stop.
With a spoon, gently fold in the berries and chunks of apple (about two big apples will do) and a dash of lemon juice.
If you have used a particularly knobbly lemon, take a moment to look at it.
Pour the mixture into a 9×13 inch cake tin which you have sprayed liberally with cake release spray. Because you’re clever and you don’t bother faffing with baking paper. Sprinkle the top with a little brown sugar, if you want.
Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for about 30-35 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and you can stick a table knife into the centre of the cake and when you withdraw it, it only has a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
Give thanks for the ‘weeds’ like brambles that grow in your garden! 😀
Blackberry Apple Buttermilk Cake
- 350 grams Plain Flour
- 410 grams Caster Sugar
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 225 grams Unsalted Butter Room Temperature
- 250 ml Buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg Freshly grated is best
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Grated lemon zest
- 1 tsp Lemon juice
- 225 grams Blackberries Approx. 2 double handfuls
- 225 grams Granny Smith apples Approx 2 large apples or 2.5 medium
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius. Line and grease a 9 x 13 inch baking tin (or spray with cake release spray).
Put the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and baking powder into a large bowl, or the bowl of a mixer.
Cut the butter into chunks and put in the bowl with the flour mixture. If using a mixer, turn it on using the paddle attachment and a low speed. If doing it by hand, use a metal whisk to combine the butter with the flour. After about 3 minutes of mixing, the flour and butter should have combined to form a sandy, breadcrumb-like mixture.
In a large jug, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and buttermilk. Pour 1/4 of the mixture into the flour/butter crumbs and mix in your mixer, or with your whisk, to combine until smooth (approx. 20-30 seconds). Pour in another 1/4 of the liquid. Combine for another 20-30 seconds. Repeat twice more until all of the liquid has been incorporated into the batter.
Working quickly, peel and core the apples and chop them into chunks 2cm (1/2 inch) square. Add the apple and the blackberries to the cake batter and stir gently to combine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and spread gently to the edges. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden brown, and a cake tester comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.
I like to use Granny Smith apples because they're tart enough to stand up to the sweetness of the cake, and firm enough not to collapse during baking. But you could use any apple you have to hand.
This cake keeps really well. Wrap it well in cling film and it should last for 3-4 days, no problem.