Sunday, 19 September 2010


For my friend M's birthday, we went berry picking. We'd emailed in advance, and been told that the place was open until 6, and there was lots of soft fruit in the fields. When we got there, it was closed for the season, and the girl at the counter said she'd never heard of the woman who'd sent us the detailed emails about opening hours and fruit. We were confused. Who was this mysterious woman who'd given us information? Why was she answering the fruit farm's email? The girl at the counter didn't have any answers, but since we'd come all that way on the bus, she said we could pick some apples if we wanted to. Why not? And so off we went to pick apples. And on the way to the apples, we found Jostaberries (a black currant-gooseberry hybrid). And this is the cake that came out of it. If you can't find jostaberries (I'd sure as hell never seen them before), use any tart berry, such as gooseberries.

Mystery berry farm birthday cake

Start with at least 3 cups of jostaberries
-put these in the oven at about 100C, in a single layer, and let them dry out a bit while you eat dinner... say about 30 mins - 1 hour. You should see them forming syrup, but they should still have their own shape.

After dinner, assemble the cake:

2 c ww pastry flour
1/3 c cocoa
2 tbs carob
2 tbs cornflour (north america)/ maizemeal (uk)
1 tbs baking powder
1 and 1/2 c sugar (I used a mix of white and brown)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom

mix all of these together

1 tetra pack of firm silken tofu
1/2 cup pear puree
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 vanilla bean

blend all of these together. if you don't have a supa-blender, use vanilla extract, or scrape the seeds out of the bean and use those.

Remove berries from oven, and heat the oven up to 190C
Oil and flour a 9 inch cake pan.

Stir 2 tbs of sweet vinegar into the cake batter (I used blackcurrant vinegar), or 1 tbs of balsamic vinegar if you don't have blackcurrant or some other sweet vinegar hanging around. You can also just skip the vinegar, but the cake will be a bit denser.

Spread half the cake batter into the pan, then the jostaberries, then the rest of the batter. You can't really stir the berries into the batter because they are too delicate after the baking and will explode. Sprinkle the top of the cake with sugar, and bake for 55 minutes (check after 45). Allow to cool for 10 mins, take out the pan carefully, and serve with chocolate sauce and a drizzle of blackcurrant vinegar. Carob vincotto would also be nice.

....and in case you haven't guessed. Berry season is totally over. I saved this post for a week when I was too busy to actually post. Haahahahahahaha! I'm sure frozen berries will work just fine.

music: Happy Birthday, sung with enough enthusiasm to make up for my lack of skill (duh)

No comments: