Friday, 1 July 2011

Gooseberry Crumble Cake

I'm so excited by my little crop of home-grown gooseberries. They are such a rare fruit these days - I think it's about 4 years since I saw any in the supermarkets, which is what prompted us to plant a couple of bushes to grow our own. This wasn't a particularly good year; it was such a dry spring that the berries were very small. Another problem we had was that the bush producing the red fruit was damaged when we had a tree felled and is taking a long time to recover, so it isn't producing as much fruit as the green-fruited bush yet.  Nevertheless, we got enough fruit for a two portion crumble (heavenly), this crumble cake and a further portion for the freezer for later use.

This cake isn't very pretty - it's not as deep as I would have liked and the top buckled where the gooseberries collapsed - but it was certainly very tasty! It's an amalgamation of a couple of recipes and my own ideas for flavouring the gooseberries and crumble topping. The sponge cake base comes from this Rachel Allen recipe; the only change I made was to use elderflower cordial instead of milk, in the batter mix. I baked it in a 9"(23cm) diameter springform tin, but I think it would have been better in an 8"(20cm) tin.

For the fruit layer, I mixed 340g (roughly 12oz)  fruit with 2 teaspoons cornflour, 1 tablespoon caster sugar and 2 tablespoons eldeflower cordial. This was spread on the uncooked sponge mix base.

The crumble topping is based on an idea from Martha Stewart website, where I first read about melting the butter for a crumble topping and then mixing in the other ingredients. The resulting soft dough is then broken up into small pieces and scattered evenly over the base layers. In this case I used 100g melted butter, 75g SR flour and 75g caster sugar, plus a half teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon cocoa to give some colour contrast to the crumble mix.

The cake took about an hour to bake at 180C - it was difficult to tell if it had cooked properly as the top was fluid from the hot fruit, so didn't feel firm, and a toothpick picked up moisture from the fruit.

The only disappointment was that I couldn't taste the elderflower cordial - I had used some in the gooseberry crumble I'd made the day before, with much better results. I think it was just too dilute in this cake. The cocoa and cinnamon in the crumble added just a hint of extra flavour, and the gooseberries were still wonderfully sharp. The crisp crumble topping was a good contrast to the soft sponge and moist fruit layer. This was delicious eaten warm as a dessert with vanilla yogurt or creme fraiche, or on it's own as a cake when it had cooled fully. I stored it in the fridge, but let it come up to room temperature before eating.


Foodycat said...

I usually manage to buy some gooseberries eventually each year, but I haven't seen any this year!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Really nice idea for using gooseberries. I think they're seriously underrated. You're right, they're difficult to find in the supermakets but luckily for me our local pick-your-own has loads of them. I usually make jam or fish sauces but your idea is very inviting. Have a good weekend.

snowy said...

I love gooseberries, but you don't see them anymore.Lucky you having some in your garden Suelle. Love the idea of a gooseberry cake. Good idea Phil - will look out for a pyo near us, if any!

C said...

I love gooseberries - so under-rated. I do sometimes see them in the supermarkets, but only very briefly. I've got a couple of bushes in the garden, but have had no fruit this year at all. I think all the leaves were eaten by evil little catepillars.

I made a gooseberry crumble cake last year - must revisit it because yours looks lovely!

Suelle said...

C - I looked at your crumble cake recipe but wasn't too sure about how successful the topping was. I do wish I'd used a sour cream cake for the base layer, though!

C said...

Yes, you're right, the gooseberry crumble cake I made earlier this year didn't have that successful a crumble topping.

I made one last year using your crumble topping that was much more successful! I like your idea of elderflower cordial, it's a shame you couldn't taste it all that much in the finished cake.