Simply Eggcellent, and the first of Caroline Makes' Formula 1 Foods, but the challenge from We Should Cocoa to use blackberries and chocolate together has fallen by the wayside due to lack of time.
Despite needing to lose the holiday weight, and get my diet back on track, I found time to make a simple crumb cake for the AlphaBakes challenge this month, which is to use the letter J, either for the first letter of a main ingredient, or the first letter of part of the name of the dish (eg J for Jalapeno or J for Jalousie). See the full set of rules here, for a complete explanation.
My J was for Jam - I swirled some reduced sugar 'cherries and berries' jam into the top half of a crumb cake batter, hoping the result would be colourful and add extra flavour to a fairly plain cake. My recipe is a slight adaptation of this one, found on the blog Bake or Break, which I've been reading for several years. I reduced the sugar a little, altered the topping to accommodate what I had available, and baked the cake in a 20cm (8") round tin.
210g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
115g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
50g light muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/3 cup jam
50g light muscovado sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground almonds
25g cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts
Pre-heat the oven to 175C, and base line a 20cm springform tin.
Make the topping by putting the sugar, flour, almonds and cinnamon into a small bowl, then rubbing in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the hazelnuts, then set aside at room temperature.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugars unril light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, with a tablespoon of the flour mix. Then fold in the rest of the flour, alternately with portions of the milk, to make a stiff cake batter.
Spread about 2/3 of the batter into the cake tin, then spread on the jam, leaving a border of batter around the edge of the tin. Carefully spread on the remaining batter, then use a teaspoon handle to swirl through the cake batter, trying to keep in the top half of the mixture.
Sprinkle the topping over evenly, squeezing it together in your fingers to make it a little clumpier, rather than powdery.
Bake for 35 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 160C and bake until a tester comes out clean - about another 15 minutes (45-50 minutes in total). Cool in the tin.
Sadly, the finished cake didn't look as good as I'd hoped. It rose unevenly, sank back badly during cooling and when cut, it revealed that the jam layer had sunk during baking and lost a lot of it's vibrant colour. The hoped for swirls of colour in the top of the cake just didn't materialise! The crumb crust hadn't really adhered to the cake batter either, which made the cake difficult to cut and serve. It tasted fine though - the topping was sweet and nutty and the jam added a good fruity flavour to the cake. Overall, something that needs a little more work, but could be a good store-cupboard recipe!
The AlphaBakes Challenge is hosted alternately by Caroline, at Caroline Makes, and Ros, at The More Than Occasional Baker. Ros is this month's host, and will post a round-up of entries at the end of the month.