Lately my thoughts are returning to cake, especially after being absent from the oven for 6 months. This one bridges the gap nicely between wintery nutty warmth and summery fruity delight, and if served warm is delicious with good vanilla ice cream, for a cakey dessert. Many thanks to Rubi’s mum, Binda, for sharing the original recipe, which I’ve adapted slightly for my own tastes.
175g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
160g golden caster sugar (for preference, stored with a vanilla pod)
175g margarine / unsalted butter (at room temperature), in smallish chunks
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla essence (optional)
a handful of porridge oats
2 eggs, beaten
half cup of soured milk (just squeeze in some fresh lemon juice and leave it to work for 10 mins)
a good handful of macadamia nuts, roughly chopped, or cashews if you prefer
100g white chocolate, broken into chunks
100g fresh raspberries, washed
Method: preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 5 (adjust down slightly for fan ovens), and grease a traybake tin. As this recipe contains fresh fruit, I find it helpful to also line the base of the tin with baking parchment or greaseproof paper.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, add the sugar, butter, eggs and soured milk. Beat together – I find I get best results and less arm ache if I use a hand mixer. Add the porridge oats, nuts (vanilla essence if used) and white chocolate. Beat in lightly.
Now, pour half the mixture into the traybake tin, and level conscientiously. Sprinkle in the raspberries so that they are evenly distributed throughout the cake, and gently cover with the remaining cake mix. You will have to be delicate and determined with this part so that the raspberries don’t get a pasting here – unless you like them bruised!
Place in the oven, and reduce the temperature to 180C/gas 4. Bake until golden on top and springy to the touch, about 30 -35 minutes. Serve the same day.
From time to time I change the combination of nuts / fruit / chocolate, depending on the season and the contents of the cupboards. Tried and tested combinations are: flaked almonds / grated apple / dark chocolate with cinnamon instead of vanilla; the recipe above with dark chocolate instead of white; cashew / blueberry / milk chocolate.