Tag Archives: berries

Absence and Berry Cakes

31 Jul

(So, where on earth have I been for the past four months? Well, I was a food-related fundraising intern for a wonderful organisation called Action Against Hunger, working with restaurants to join a campaign which the charity runs in September and October. Interning full-time meant that blogging fell down my To Do list, but I hope to make up for that over the coming weeks. If I have any readers left, in the immortal words of Sam Cooke, bring it on home to me! Now, the main event…)

Unlike 99.99% of the world population, I do not believe that fresh raspberries and blueberries are a sign that the God of summer loves us and wants us to be happy. I don’t find them offensive, just squidgy and kind of bland. I do have fond memories of picking fresh blackberries at summer camp and eating them churned into vanilla ice cream, but that’s kind of it.

But it’s summer after all, so I decided to confront my own prejudice and bake with berries. First I made a batch of raspberry-rhubarb muffins from the Flour Bakery cookbook by Joanne Chang as a birthday present for my father. Second was a raspberry-blackberry Bundt cake, based on a recipe from the ever-excellent Smitten Kitchen. Apologies for the lack of photographs – both recipes turned out less-than-photogenic due to some serious pan-sticking issues, and I was on holiday and feeling lazy.

(Also, I find as I get older than I’m becoming more of a cook than a baker. A less generous person would attribute it to my shortening attention span, but I’d like to think that I’m becoming more relaxed and generally willing to go with the flow. But the simplest explanation is that I’m out of practice.)

Despite all the messiness, both recipes turned out delicious. They work on a similar principle: make a vanilla-scented cake batter (the muffins included lots of melted butter, eggs, crème fraiche, and whole milk), then stir through whatever berries tickle your fancy. When baked, the berries (and rhubarb) become jammy pockets of tartness that refresh you in the midst of rich, moist, very sweet cake. It’d make a perfect mid-morning snack with a cup of strong, milky coffee.

A cake so good I couldn’t resist taking a bite before photographing it.

So will you find me locked away scarfing carton after carton of raspberries, eyes gleaming with the fervor of the newly converted? Well, no. But berries and I are now on nodding terms, and that’s an improvement!