This cake reminds me fondly of my childhood, of the heavy-yet-still-deliciously-moist German cakes my Oma would make. Sunday morning I found myself in the kitchen - I needed to make a cake for Mark's belated birthday celebration with his parents and I had half a container of blackberries from the farmers' market needing to be used. A quick Google search pulled up this delicious recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. A few minor adjustments were made - unrefined raw sugar (you can use rapadura sugar if you prefer - I had just run out!), spelt flour to make it easy on the stomach, and almond milk to replace the buttermilk. We can tolerate small amounts of butter in this house, and I wanted the soft crumb that butter yields for this special occasion, but I'm sure you could easily substitute with coconut oil. This cake was absolutely delicious and was gobbled up entirely in less than 24 hours! I'm sure it would be just as lovely with blueberries, raspberries, plums, peaches, apples or pears - actually any fruit in season! (And I do intend trying out every single option!) This cake will now be the go-to cake in our house - yes, it's that good!
375 g blackberries
200 g unrefined organic raw or caster sugar
150 ml almond/rice/soy milk
1 tablespoon of lemon juice, vinegar or natural yoghurt
200 g white spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
120 g unsalted organic butter, softened
2 large free-range organic eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
Heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Butter a 22cm round cake tin, line the bottom with baking paper, then butter the paper. Dust with flour and shake out any excess. Scatter the blackberries into the tin in an even layer, sprinkle over two tablespoons of the sugar and shake to coat evenly.
Combine the milk and lemon juice/vinegar/yoghurt and set aside to sour. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, or in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and adding a bit of flour if it looks like curdling, then beat in the vanilla and lemon zest. Add the flour and milk alternately, folding in until just combined.
Spoon the batter carefully over the berries, smooth with a spatula and bake for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for five minutes, then invert on to a plate. Dust with icing sugar, if you like, to serve.