When I was little, I used to go foraging for blackberries in the hedges by Kneller Hall. Kneller Hall is home to the Royal Military School of Music, so you can often see the recruits on parade practice inside the grounds. There is something instrinsically funny to me about the sound of brass, so this is always a joy to watch.
Even more frequently, if you are a cyclist or walker on the local river towpaths, you can enjoy almost being knocked down the riverbank by a pack of recruits, out on a run in full combat gear. I exaggerate, of course. The men and women who reside at Kneller Hall are exemplary specimens of the human race, who would never point and laugh at a cyclist who'd fallen off their bike.
Oh. Apart from the ones who told 9-year old me, upon finding me scrummaging through the aforementioned blackberry hedges, that if I climbed into the grounds again, I'd be shot on sight.
I was too scared to even walk past the grounds for years after that.
I love blackberries in autumn and they are the best fruit ever, when baked with something that will sop up all the rich juices.
I'm working on my bread-making skills at the moment (current level: Zero) and I think that brioche is just screaming for blackberries. Once I've mastered this, I'll see about making a pudding centred on this.
In the meantime, this cake makes the most of my favourite autumn fruit, paired with its' natural companion, the apple.
I think the original recipe for this cake might have come from Nigel Slater, but I can't verify this from my books or online searches. In any event, I've made a couple of tweaks to the dry ingredients, so the full recipe is written below.
I'm sending this cake over to the Pink Whisk's October Challenge, which is to create a bake using apples. By the way, this cake serves wonderfully with hot custard.
Blackberry & Apple Crumble Cake
For the crumble (this can be made in advance)
75g plain flour
100g unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
100g demerera sugar
2 tablespoons rolled oats
Generous pinch of cinnamon
For the cake
150g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
3 large eggs
75g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
110g ground almonds
1 dessert apple
You will also need a greased, lined 8-inch cake tin (preferably Springform) and an oven pre-heated to 180C.
Make the crumble first, by rubbing together the butter and the flour until you get a mixture of fine and large 'crumbs'. Stir in the sugar, oats and cinnamon and set this aside.
To make the cake, cream together the butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon and eggs, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Fold in the ground almonds until well incorporated and spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, levelling off the top as you finish doing so.
Peel, core and quarter the dessert apple. Cut this into thinnish slices (you should get about 6 slices per quarter). Put the slices on the top of the cake and give them a little prod, so they are held in place, but not submerged by the batter.
Tumble the blackberries on top of the apple, so these form one layer, then pour the crumble on top of this.
Bake the cake on the middle shelf of the oven for about one hour. The cake is ready when a skewer comes cleanly out of the cake's centre.
The cake must be cooled completely in the tin, as it is likely to break up if removed while still warm.