Friday, 29 November 2013

Summer Cake

It was a Saturday afternoon. We were all kind of bored, sitting in front of the TV watching River Cottage Everyday when Hugh walks into a pub, dessert in hand, and enters it into the establishment's pudding competition. The fluffy-haired program host was just telling of how all the regulars to the bar had formed a pudding club, which took the form of this such competition, when my sister piped up,"We should have pudding club!". The three of us - my sister, C; Helen, our nanny at the time; and I - looked around at each other for a hopeful hint of shared enthusiasm, eyes wide at all the possibilities. 

It was a spur of the moment thing. Cookbooks were flipped open, recipes googled, and by dusk  each of us had found a dessert to make, and had all agreed that, with Mum and Dad out for the night - we would have our puddings for dinner. And so the Pudding Club was born.

It became a kind of tradition, at first a secret kept from our parents that whenever they were not home for dinner, we were reveling in any combination of sugar, cream and butter. Helen was nominated President, C the Vice President and I, Creative Director - just like some sort of society. Over the year, our sweet banquets featured a mango and raspberry fool, chocolate soufflĂ©, blueberry clafoutis and many others. And at the end of each night, cocooned in a warm glowing haze of butteriness, the winner was agreed as we each reflected on the mouth-watering indulgences we had just eaten.

 The Pudding Club is somewhat disbanded now, what with Helen having returned back to her home country and C off at Uni, but every so often, when C comes home, we recreate a little bit of that pudding club excitement, in the making and eating of some delicious dessert… we sometimes don't even eat our dinner first.

Which is where this cake comes in. The sponge itself is sweeter than most other cakes, and has a distinctive yet subtle vanilla flavor to it. It is light and airy, a texture not usually associated with a pudding, however this cake is the perfect way to finish off a dinner of barbecued fare or a light salad out on the deck as the sun slowly sinks, without being too heavy or rich. 

As you pile the berries atop the batter, ready for the oven, it seems like the quantity is a little vast. But as it cooks, the berries are toasted and melted down to become little pockets of intense berry flavor, like the purest jam, their tang brought out by the juxtaposing sweetness of the cake. Some might say that cake dare not venture beyond the realm of morning or afternoon tea and encroach on pudding territory dominated by its richer, more intense cousins. I invite them to try this cake. Warm, straight from the oven, maybe with a dollop of natural yoghurt (if you can hold off for long enough), this cake would do the Pudding Club proud.

 Summer Cake

Recipe adapted from Call Me Cupcake

85g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
1 ½ cups (188g) all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
175g granulated sugar, plus 2 Tbsp extra
1 large egg
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g strawberries, halved
100g blueberries
100g raspberries

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Butter a 25 cm (10 inch) pie pan or 23 cm (9 inch) cake pan. In a large bowl, beat butter and 175g of sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, milk and vanilla and mix until just combined. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually incorporate the flour mixture into the butter mixture, mixing until just smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Arrange berries on top of mixture in a single layer. Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp sugar over berries. Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce temperature to 150°C (325°F) and bake cake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. About 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool in pan on a rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature with natural yogurt.


  1. this looks delicous! i have to try this next weekend, i love everything with strawberries :)

    1. Thanks! Please Try it, it is so easy and such a crowd pleaser, I've made it twice already! You can make it with only strawberries, if you prefer. I love strawberries too! I'm thinking of making some strawberry jam soon… or maybe another strawberry dessert!