Friday, 27 December 2013

Blackberry and Elderflower Cakes

Hello lovely people! I hope you all had a brilliant Christmas. Mine has been very busy (isn't life always?) - I was in Paris with Fraser for four days, then finally got back to Cumbria to weather-madness and frantic Christmas preparations. There hasn't been time for a great deal of cooking, other than Christmas dinner, of course, though I do know that Zosia took her annual gingerbread house to a new level this year and made a gingerbread castle. As you do.

However, it's my birthday party this weekend and we're doing an afternoon tea type-thing, so to the kitchen! I'm planning on making little lemon drizzle cakes and more spiced Christmas biscuits, but I'm also hoping to re-create something I did this term. Enter please blackberry and elderflower cakes.

Ingredients (makes 12):
For the cakes
- 150g butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3tbsp elderflower cordial
- 200g self raising flour
- ½tsp baking powder
- 1 tin of blackberries, drained (or 150g fresh)

For the buttercream
- 75g softened butter
- 275g icing sugar
- 2tbsp elderflower cordial
- 1 tin blackberries (or 75g fresh)
- 12 fresh blackberries
- few sprigs of lemon thyme
- elderflowers (if in season)

For the cakes
1. First, preheat your oven to 180°C and grab some muffin cases. If you have a muffin tin pop the cases in the holes, but if not don't worry, you can just use a normal baking tray.
2. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. You want as much air in there as possible, so give it some proper elbow grease!
3. Add the eggs and elderflower cordial, then mix in so there are no streaks.
4. Carefully fold in the flour. You need to make sure it's all mixed in whilst at the same time not beating out any of the air you've worked in, so be gentle with it.
5. Add the blackberries. I think the tins are genius - they're so much cheaper (unless it's blackberry season and you can pick your own) and are great to have in the cupboard, but just use whatever you can find.

Most beautiful cake mix ever?
6. Divide the mixture between the 12 cake cases, then bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven) until a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool.

For the buttercream
1. Beat together the butter and icing sugar until thick, light and creamy. Pour in the elderflower cordial and stir through.
2. Add the tinned blackberries along with a splash of the liquid from the tin (just to give an extra hit of colour) and stir in. If your buttercream is a bit runny, you can just stir in more icing sugar.
3. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a nozzle of your choice. Don't have a piping bag? Use a plastic sandwich bag and cut off one of the corners!
4. Once your cakes are properly cooled, ice away! Start from the outside and swirl in towards the middle.
5. Adorn each cake with a fresh blackberry and a couple of thyme leaves. You can also sprinkle over some tiny elderflowers if they're in season (June) for an extra bit of pretty.

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