At the end of August this feels like the perfect cake to straddle the dog days of summer and the beginning of autumn: it has the tart and sweet summer fruits, against the comfort of hot sponge.
(This recipe is dedicated to Emma F who threatened to report me as a troll unless I gave her the recipe, after I posted a photo of it on Twitter.)
I made this LLG version of the English classic Eve’s Pudding when I was in Cornwall at the beginning of the month. Eve’s Pudding, as you can probably guess from the name, is traditionally made from Bramley apples, a particular tart variety of English apple known as a cooker, and lets the apples stew underneath as the sponge bakes above.
There weren’t cake tins at our rental, but there was a lovely Le Creuset baking dish, so I changed my plan for a Victoria sponge to a baked sponge instead, which can be made in pretty much any kind of ovenproof dish, as it is not turned out at the end of cooking.
There were nectarines in the fruit bowl when I arrived, and blueberries for my breakfast, so that seemed like a great place to start. (You could use any firm-ish berry really; raspberries or blackberries wld be good. You could sub peaches, but I prefer nectarines as they keep their integrity a bit better. Peaches do tend to mush quite easily. Apricots would be nice, but I wld sprinkle them with sugar, leave out the berries, and sub some of the flour with ground almonds.)
I knocked up a quick Victoria sponge mixture – using a 4oz/110g ratio, and flumped it over the fruit.
Then I smoothed it over with a palette knife – but a spatula would do just as well.
I sprinkled caster sugar on top, (that gives it this lovely golden crunchy top) and baked it for around 30 mins, until a skewer gingerly inserted in the middle came 0ut clean. (Don’t shove it all the way in or you’ll hit the fruit and get a false test.)
This is longer than you would normally bake a Victoria sponge for, but the thing here is the three texture contrasts: the delicious fruit, the light fluffy sponge, and the crunchy sugary top. The blueberries cook down to a glorious dark blue pulp. Mmmm.
Forgive me whilst I do drooling.
I advise serving with Cornish clotted cream
Recipe to feed 4-6 people, depending on greed:
4oz (110g) butter – do NOT use margarine or the baking gods will strike you down
4oz (110g) caster sugar
2 eggs (large)
4oz (110g) self-raising flour
splash of vanilla essence
one nectarine – stoned & chopped
a cup of blueberries
Caster sugar for sprinkling.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/356F
Generously butter a small oven proof dish.
Cream together the butter & the sugar (by hand or in a food processor. I favour the latter.)
Add one egg, beat. Add a large scoop of flour, beat. Add the second egg, beat. Add the rest of the flour.
Add the vanilla essence, beat.
Spread over the top of the fruit. Sprinkle with sugar, and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.
This recipe can easily be doubled.
Thank you to Amanda and her wonderful kitchen at Dreamcatchers in St Mawes, where I had such a lovely time cooking.