I was out walking Ringo whilst visiting my parents in West Sussex last week, lamenting that I hadn’t had the foresight to bring along a container so that I could pick blackberries when I realised that an unused dog-poo bag would do nicely. I managed to pick over a kilo of berries there were so many; but then I had to decide what to do with them all! I chose to make three things to use them all up, this cake was the first.
This is not a pretty cake, but it is delicious; a little bit of ground star anise gives it a delicate aniseed flavour, but you can easily replace it with ground ginger if you aren’t keen on aniseed. The addition of wholemeal flour creates a heartier crumb which works well with the juicy blackberries and it is scrumptious when served warm with ice cream or custard.
Blackberry Upside-Down Cake
- 275g (9.5 oz) blackberries
- 175g (1 cup) light brown soft sugar
- 150g (1/2 cup + 2tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 50ml (scant 1/4 cup) milk
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 1 star anise/1 tsp ground ginger
- 50g (1/3 cup + 2tbsp) wholemeal flour
- 100g (3/4 cup + 2tbsp) plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- pinch salt
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm round loose bottomed cake tin, line the base with baking parchment and grease again generously. Sprinkle 2tbsp of the sugar over the base of the tin and arrange the blackberries on top.
Crush the star anise in a pestle and mortar/spice grinder/coffee grinder until you are left with a fine powder, there may be a few stubborn pieces, sift these out.
Cream the butter with the remaining sugar until fluffy. Beat together the eggs, milk and vanilla extract, in a separate bowl mix together the flours, baking powder, bicarb of soda, cinnamon, star anise power and salt.
Mix one third of the egg mixture into the butter, then fold in one third of the dry ingredients, repeat untill everything has been incorporated. Pour the batter on top of the blackberries and level out, bake for 40-50 minutes until well-risen and springy to the touch; if it starts to colour too quickly then cover the top of the tin with some tin foil.
As soon as the cake is cooked, turn it out onto a wire rack and peel off the baking parchment. Best served warm.