It’s a truth universally acknowledged amongst my friends and family that I am what is known as a berry fiend. Raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants, cherries, blackberries, blackcurrants… any berry or red fruit and I am the happiest person in the world. Raspberries are my absolute favourite though. I can disappear a punnet of them in under a minute.
Food-wise, I think this is the best time of year, purely because berries and cherries are ripe in the UK, and they’re beautiful: fragrant and perfumed, tasting of the sun and summer, rather than watery, tasteless versions force-grown and imported in winter. They’re so delicious, you really don’t need to do anything with them, but if you are overwhelmed by one particular variety, here’s a recipe for you.
You can substitute the raspberries for another fruit – blackcurrants work well – and mess around with the jam and nut combo, if you like. Blackberry and hazelnut would work nicely, later on in the season. Anyway, enjoy!
- 175g butter, softened
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 free range eggs
- 140g self-raising flour
- 1 vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (do try to use real vanilla if you can, though)
- 25g ground almonds
- 1-2 tbsp milk
- 3 tbsp raspberries
- 2 large tbsp raspberry jam
- 2 tbsp ground almonds
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Grease and line a 900g / 2lb loaf tin.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat the eggs, then add to the mixture gradually, with 2 teaspoons of the flour to stop the mixture from separating. Mix well.
- Using the point of a sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and stir into the mixture (Or add the vanilla extract, if using).
- Sift in the remaining flour in batches, folding in gently using a metal spoon. Add the almonds, along with enough milk to make a smooth batter and stir gently to combine.
- Place the raspberries in a separate bowl and mash into a puree.
- Take 2 tbsp of the batter and add to the raspberries, stirring well.
- Using a separate spoon for each mixture, dollop the batters into the tin alternately, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are evenly covered.
- Smooth over the top. Use a skewer to drag through the mixture in swirls to create a ripple effect.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is set and a skewer comes out clean. (If the top is browning too quickly, cover in foil until the rest catches up. Fan ovens are notorious for this!) Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the greaseproof paper.
- Melt the raspberry jam in a saucepan, adding a quick splash of water if it looks too thick. Set aside.
- In a dry frying pan gently toast the almonds, tossing frequently until golden brown. (Careful, they’ll burn the moment you’ve got your back turned…)
- Spoon the raspberry syrup evenly over the cooled cake and scatter with toasted almonds to decorate.