Blackberry Soaked Sponge Cake
This is a spectacular recipe for a good haul of blackberries. There’s a lovely contrast, both visual and textural, between the pale, fluffy sponge and its dark, juice-soaked purple top.
125g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2 large free-range eggs
200g self-raising flour
A splash of milk (no more than 50ml)
For the blackberry syrup
A good squeeze of lemon juice
25–50g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Butter a 24–25cm ceramic flan dish.
Beat the butter and sugar together for several minutes until very light and fluffy, ideally in a mixer or with a handheld electric whisk. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour with each. Add the rest of the flour and fold in lightly with a large metal spoon, adding a splash of milk towards the end to obtain a good dropping consistency.
Spread the mixture in the prepared dish. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden; a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
Meanwhile, put the blackberries in a saucepan with the lemon juice and 2–3 tablespoons water. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for about 5 minutes until the fruit is soft and has released lots of juice. Tip into a sieve over a bowl and stir and press the blackberries to extract as much juice as possible. Stir 25g of the sugar into the warm strained juice, then taste: it should be lightly sweetened but with a pleasant tartness (as the sponge is also sweet). Add more sugar only if needed.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, make lots of deep holes all over the surface with a fine skewer. Carefully pour on the blackberry syrup, covering the whole cake and letting it seep down the sides. It may seem too much syrup but don’t worry – it will all be soaked up!
Leave for at least 20 minutes to allow the juices to seep in.
You can serve the cake while it’s still warm, or wait until it is cold. You can even refrigerate it overnight and serve it chilled the next day.
Either way, a little lightly whipped cream is a lovely
You can replace the blackberries with raspberries. Or use cooked rhubarb – simmer in 150ml freshly squeezed orange juice, with up to 50g sugar, then strain the fruit to get the syrup for soaking the cake. Serve the leftover pulp for breakfast, with yoghurt.