Monday, 28 July 2014

The Garden Raspberry Cake ~~~

Gentle Reader ~~~ today I have been playing with my food ~ well tweaking a recipe I found in a charming, out of print book that I recently secured from a second hand book shop ~~~

While the bees buzzed busily about their business gathering pollen from the foxgloves in the garden ~~~ 

I went about my own business in the kitchen ~~~ and after the heat of the last few days there was welcome respite with a much cooler day today so I didn't mind turning on the oven ~~~

I am sure you want to know all about the book, so here it is ~~~ oh! and I came across it by way of the blog of Rachel, owner of Sugar Moon Brownies who wrote two lovely blogs recently about her baking history and her incredible cook books ~ in one of these entries she mentioned this book ~ "Through The Kitchen Window" by Susan Hill ~ it is one of the most delightful books I have come across in recent times ~~~ 

It offers us a glimpse into the world of the kitchen through the year, and is full of evocative, seasonal tidbits and recipes and remedies, beautifully written by Susan Hill and sweetly illustrated by Angela Barrett ~~~ I think if you love Susan Branch you will enjoy this little gem too ~~~

As I turned the pages, each one full of its own special magic, my eye came to rest on something very near to my heart ~ a Lemon Cake!  I make Lemon Cake in some shape or form quite often, a top favourite is my Crunchy Top Lemon Cake from my favourite cook, Mary Berry's "Baking Bible" so I was intrigued to see this recipe which differs substantially from the one I usually use.  Here is the page with the recipe and a sweet illustration of a cake baking while the cook looks on in eager anticipation ~~~

I have never made a cake where the butter is melted, nor have I made one where the sugar is split.  The recipe I use most often has a separate list for the topping, so I was duty bound to try this out!

I gathered my ingredients and equipment and greased and lined my cake pan ~~~ and I had to guess at a 'moderate oven' so I turned the gas on to Gas Mark 4 ~~~

I still work in Imperial, and have a very old fashioned balance scales that I've owned for over thirty years.  The Hornsea Pottery "Saffron" pattern sugar jar belongs to my mother and we have several pieces ~ she has Saffron and I have Fleur {which you will see later}  The glass lemon juicer is a reproduction of a vintage one and I like it so much better than the cheap plastic ones you can buy today.

So, I weight out my ingredients and followed the recipe carefully, making some notes to myself for later ~~~

I melted the butter and added it to the sugar in my glass mixing bowl and carefully blended the two together ~~~

allowing the mixture to cool slightly before adding the beaten egg {to avoid cooking the egg and making the mixture into scrambled egg} ~~~ 

Next, I added the flour, which I sifted in and added a scant teaspoon of baking powder to aid in the raising of the cake ~~~

and I folded it in.  It looked very messy and lumpy and I got a tiny bit worried ~~~

but the lumps soon disappeared and I was left with a very unfamiliar sight when making cakes ~ a very loose batter almost like a thick pancake batter {so that gave me an idea} ~~~

Now, the best laid plans, as they say, of mice and men ~~~ and with just a few minutes of baking time left my lovely cousin arrived on the doorstep and I managed to let the oven door slip ~ it shut too quickly and my cake sank in the middle ~~~ but, never fear ~ as the photograph shows, it sank rather evenly so I planned to turn it into a flan filled with fresh fruit and whipped cream ~~~ except my cousin took a fancy to it and I sent her home with half the cake for her tea!  The cake never received the crunchy topping!

Here is my half of the cake sitting on my Hornsea Pottery "Fleur" pattern plate ~~~

The texture is quite good, despite the mishap, and it tastes just fine with only two ounces of sugar, so it will not waste ~~~

So, as soon as my cousin left, clutching her freshly baked treat, I made another version.  This time, having seen how the batter turned out, I omitted the lemon rind {see recipe} and instead of using two ounces of sugar in the batter and reserving two ounces for the crunchy topping I put three ounces into the cake batter instead.  Then, when I poured it into the prepared cake pan, I sprinkled a generous handful of fresh raspberries over the top and popped it in the oven like that {for around 25 minutes} ~~~ and out it came like this ~~~ in case you were wondering, the texture of the batter made me think of Clafoutis, which is one of my favourite desserts ~~~

It has sunk a tad but I'm not too worried about that ~~~

To turn it out, I tipped it onto a plate and flipped it over, then I turned the plate over with the cooling rack underneath ~~~

and voila! ~~~ one turned out raspberry topped cake! ~~~ I have to say I'm quite chuffed over this little adaptation of mine ~~~

While it was still warm I cut a wedge and had it quite plain so I could judge it properly without the distraction of cream, custard, or ice cream ~ all of which would be very yummy with this invention ~~~

It was very tasty indeed and I will make it again ~~~ the extra sugar made the top and edges sort of chewy ~ I knew I'd done something a little different from the original one and I really liked it!  I'm looking forward to a piece for my morning break with a mug of coffee tomorrow now!

So, Gentle Reader, there you have my little experiment!  Next time I think I might put the berries in the bottom of the pan and pour the batter over them instead ~~~ but I am so happy that I now have another way to use up the harvest of raspberries from the garden ~~~

~~~A Gardener's Work Is Never Done~~~


  1. Oh I need to try this recipe! A cake for transitions, from one season to another. Raspberries, like blueberries, are for me the fruit of the end of summer coming into autumn slowly but surely.

    1. Hello Guillaume ~ yes, I think this is a cake for all seasons. I am looking forward to trying it with many different fruits as the seasons turn now.

  2. This sounds quite delectable! We have a plethora of blueberries here currently. The raspberries have not done very well, for some reason. I will make a blueberry buckle tomorrow!

    1. Hello Nellie ~ Oh, I think it work very well with blueberries, indeed! Do let us know how you get on.

  3. Debs, I just bought this book! I can't remember now whether I saw it on Rachel's blog or whether someone mentioned it in a comment on Susan Branch's Blog....was that you by any chance? I'm glad to have your comments about the cake. I will have to give it a try. I love lemon. Was it not good with the lemon rind in it?

    1. Hello Cathy ~ It is a most charming book, isn't it? I have just ordered another one of hers, "The Magic Apple Tree ~ A Country Year" so we will see what that yields. I first came across it on Rachel's blog and rushed off to secure it immediately. I cannot recall mentioning it on Susan's blog, I did mention finding a copy of Gladys Taber's "Stillmeadow Daybook" though.
      The lemon rind was just fine, I simply didn't have another lemon when I did the raspberry version and as I type this reply I have a third one in, this time with the fruit on the bottom of the pan with the cake mix on top {instead of the other way around} and I have lightly sprinkled some sugar on the top too. This time, I put the very last thimble full of blackcurrants in with the raspberries! Nothing like playing with your food!

  4. Debs, what a lovely post. Your Lemon Cakes sound so yummy! I think I can smell them baking from here. Lemon is always one of my favorite flavors ~ but especially in the summertime. I'll have to look around for "Through the Kitchen Window." It sounds so charming. Do you ship your cakes Across The Pond? ♡

    1. Lemon is a very pleasing cake and I love it with a cup of tea! I'm happy you like the post. I had a lot of fun {and some frustration too} photographing it. Waving ~~~

  5. Hi, Debs ... thanks for sharing the recipe page from the book. It sounds simple enough that I may actually try baking it, too! As I previously commented on Rachel's post, the cover illustration on the book reminds me of Gladys Taber and Susan Branch (and possibly Tasha Tudor).

    Hugs from Alabama ^;^

    1. It is such a lovely book I have bought another one called "The Magic Apple Tree" by Susan Hill and Rachel highly recommends it. It is such a shame they are all out of print. As Rachel says, Susan Hill is to us what Gladys Taber is to you, and I agree a lot like Tasha Tudor too. I adore everything Tasha. I managed to get a copy of "Stillmeadow Daybook" here on the secondary market. We are so lucky to have all these wonderful writers and illustrators to inspire us. Do let us all know how you get on with the recipe, please?

      Waving from Across The Pond ~


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