For the cake
200g plain flour
4 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ tsp sea salt
115g unsalted butter
240g organic light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
240ml carton of buttermilk, well shaken
For the topping
180ml Sauternes (or any dessert wine)
4 tbsp granulated sugar
1 heaped tbsp grated pink grapefruit zest
3 tbsp blackberry jam
450g fresh blackberries
Freshly whipped cream, to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180˚C (Gas Mark 4).
Line the bottom of a buttered 23x5cm round cake tin with greaseproof paper cut to fit (the easiest way to do this is to lay the tin on the paper and use a pencil to trace it, then cut out the circle).
Butter the paper and place in the bottom of the tin. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together into a large bowl. Beat the butter and light brown sugar together in another large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in the vanilla extract.
Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer set on low, add the buttermilk until it just begins to combine with the butter, sugar, and egg mixture.Add the flour mix in three batches, mixing after each addition until gently combined, taking care not to overmix.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin, smoothing the top carefully with a spatula. Put the tin on the middle shelf of the oven, and bake until golden and a tester (a toothpick or a sharp knife) comes out clean – about 40–50 minutes.
Cool in the tin on a wire rack. When cool, run a knife around the edge and slide the cake onto a serving plate. If the cake has risen in the middle and will not lay flat, flip it over, bulge side up, and gently run a serrated knife horizontally through the cake, thus cutting off the bump. This allows for easier placement of the berries.
To make the topping, bring the wine, 3 tbsp of the granulated sugar, and the grapefruit zest to a boil in a small pan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Boil until the syrup has reduced to about 140ml (this should take 1–2 minutes). Reserve 2 tbsp of the syrup and pour the remainder slowly and evenly over the cake.
Stir together the rest of the syrup, jam and remaining 1 tbsp of sugar in a small saucepan, and simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened slightly. Arrange the berries over the cake and pour over the syrup, with
the addition of cream if you’re feeling naughty.
Serve as warm as possible to elicit the most “ooohs” and “aaahs” from your guests ■
Adapted from The Romantic Prairie Cookbook by Fifi O’Neill (Cico, £16.99). To buy this book at the special price of £14.99, inc p&p, tel: 01256 302699 and quote reference GLR7IT.