Britain’s climate may not always be ideal for holidaymakers, but it is particularly good at producing tart, juicy gooseberries. They’re a peculiarly British fruit, being more popular here than in other countries. Although they’re something of an acquired taste and not so popular as they once were, I think it’s high time for their reinvention – much like their relation the blackcurrant, recently hailed as a superfood. Gooseberries are coming into season so now is the perfect time to revive them – and if you can’t get hold of the fruit, you could use frozen (as I did, leftover from last season) or even canned. They go perfectly with elderflower: last year I paired them in a cake together. In this recipe from Flora Shedden’s Gatherings, their tanginess is tempered by a complex sweetness in a simple golden sponge. To make them, you will need:
200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
200g golden caster sugar or light soft brown sugar
4 large eggs
200g plain flour
75g soured cream or natural yoghurt
100g oat flour (made by blitzing oats to a fine powder in a blender)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g prepared gooseberries
5 tbsp demerara sugar.
Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/ Gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding 2 tbsp flour with each addition (this will prevent the batter from splitting).
Once all the eggs are added, stir in the soured cream or yoghurt. Fold in the rest of the dry ingredients.
When the mixture is smooth, stir in the vanilla and 200g of the gooseberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, top with the remaining berries and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
The cake goes perfectly with a dollop of yoghurt and a cup of tea for an early Summer afternoon tea treat. What are you baking this weekend? Are you a gooseberry fan?