Apple & blackberry cake (gluten-free)

apple. blackberry, glutenfree, gluten free, gf, seasonal, fruit, apple, blackberry, Surrey, chocolate, philip, philipfriend, philip friend, homecook, sponge, Afternoontea, afternoon tea

A very seasonal and light sponge cake, celebrating the delighful pairing of apples and blackberries. A tangy blackberry buttercream and fresh blackberries finish off the cake.

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This is a cake I make as soon as the blackberries come into season, using fresh blackberries to flavour the buttercream as well as dotting a few here and there.

I use apples in the sponge, which soften just enough as they bake and add nice bursts of sharpness within the rich, butteryness of the sponge.

This can, of course, be made with all manner of berries, and I sometimes use drozen berries later in the year for the purée.

Top decorating tip

Once the sponges have been made and cooled, wrap them and freeze them. Then fill them and decorate them while frozen, leaving the cake to defrost in the fridge.

As with traditional cakes, the freezing ensures you don’t get crumbs everywhere (more an issue if coating the entire cake in buttercream) and as gluten-free cakes are more delicate, there is no risk of the cake breaking apart.

The filling

The filling here is a variation on my standard fruit buttercream, with the additon of blackberry purée and white chocolate. Without the chocolate, the additon of the purée might curdle the buttercream – the chocolate acts as a very effective stabiliser, as well as adding chocolately richness!

I always make too much buttercream for my cakes, but it freezes very well for use in another cake at a later time.

Ideas for further cakes or decorating cakes are on my post here.

Recipe: apple & blackberry cake

Sponges:
  • 3 large free-range eggs (at room temperature)
  • 175g* very soft unsalted butter or margarine
  • 175g* gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 175g* caster sugar
  • 1 medium Bramley apple, peeled, cored and either grated or chopped into very small pieces
Buttercream:
  • 150g very soft unsalted butter
  • 100g icing sugar (no need to sieve it!)
  • 100g melted and cooled white chocolate
  • 100g blackberries, puréed and passed through a sieve
  • a few fresh blackberries

I have given guidelines here for the weights, as the eggs vary so much in weight. 175g for the other ingredients will be fine, but I would start with 3 large eggs and weigh them in the shells. Then go for that same weight in butter, sugar and flour.

(1) Grease and base-line two 6″ sandwich tins and preheat the oven to 160C(fan).

(2) Put the cake ingredients, apart from the apple, into a large bowl and beat well with a wooden spoon until incorporated: it will only take a minute or so. Stir in the apple and divide the mixture between the cake tins.

(3) Bake for about 20 minutes until well risen, light golden brown and the cakes are just coming away from the sides. Leave to cool for a few minutes in their tins and invert to a cooling rack until completely cold. Peel off the greaseproof.

NB: ideally, wrap these and freeze them before sandwiching them together and decorating to prevent crumbs going everywhere.

(4) For the buttercream, beat the butter, icing sugar for a few minutes until very light. Add the blackberry purée and the white chocolate and beat well.

(5) Sandwich together the sponge layers with the buttercream, along with a few fresh blackberries. Decorate the top either very simply with a dusting of icing sugar or be creative with any remaining buttercream and more blackberries.

 

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Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking & eating.

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