Posts Tagged ‘tea cake’

Christina’s brother James is one of the nicest, most interesting people you’re ever likely to meet.

While we were chatting at Christina’s birthday party (themed 1970’s, so James was in a Luke Skywalker t-shirt and I was in a bright orange kaftan), he mentioned that he was planning to make blackberry jam for his wedding.  As a present. For every one of the sixty guests.

And James isn’t one to do things by half measures – first he was going to make pectin from scratch (using his dad’s homegrown apples), and then he was planning to spend a weekend blackberry picking to gather enough fruit for the jam.  His ever patient bride-to-be Suzanne just smiled as we discussed the intricacies of jar sizes and hot water processing.

A week or so later, Chris’ hubby Steve dropped around a jar of the  aforementioned blackberry jam.  I was both excited and somewhat surprised at  how quickly the whole plan had been put into action –  when James sets his mind to something, he clearly doesn’t procrastinate!

Serendipitously, the following day, Diana gave me frozen blackberries from her farm.  I couldn’t resist combining the two into a sweet weekend treat.

Inspired by the Blackcurrant Crown recipe in Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf, I made a version using our pain viennois dough (the step by step instructions are here), Di’s frozen blackberries, and James’ blackberry jam. It was an absolute treat – buttery, briochey and filled with oozing fruit.

  • 1 batch pain viennois dough
  • blackberry jam
  • 100g fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 100g brown sugar (I used rapadura sugar)

1.  Prepare the dough and allow it to rise in the mixing  bowl until doubled in size.  In the meantime, grease a 10 cup bundt pan well.

2. In a separate bowl, stir together the brown sugar and blackberries.

3. Turn the risen dough out onto an oiled bench and divide it into 18 x 50g pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball.

4.  Turn each ball seam-side up, and flatten it out.  Spoon a scant teaspoon of blackberry jam into the middle of the circle…

…and then gather the edges together to enclose the jam completely.

5. Layer the filled balls into the bundt pan, sprinkling with the blackberries and sugar as you go.  Don’t squash them in too tightly.

6. Once all the balls are layered into the pan, cover and allow to rise in a warm spot until puffed up (Dan’s recipe specifies letting the dough rise until doubled in size, but mine didn’t rise that much).  Preheat the oven to 200C with fan.

7. Bake the crown in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes at 200C with fan, then reduce the heat and bake for a further 20 – 30 minutes at 175C with fan.  The top of the crown went very brown in my oven, so I dropped the heat after 10 minutes.  Do keep an eye on this – particularly if you’re using a cast aluminium bundt pan as I was – as it can colour up very quickly.  I let mine cook an extra few minutes to dry up the berry juices.

Edit: Living Delilah made this recipe, and found that the brown sugar burnt during baking.  Do watch out for that and if your oven runs hot or you’re using cast aluminium, you might want to lower the starting temperature by 10 degrees or so, or reduce the initial baking time at the higher temp.

8. Rest the pan for five minutes before carefully turning it onto a plate (watch out for the hot syrup).  Serve the crown warm, with a hot cup of tea!

Click here for step by step instructions for the pain viennois dough.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

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I was looking to use up some surplus eggs and a few jars of last year’s jam, and came upon this old recipe.  It’s from an ancient Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook and produced a surprisingly tender  tea cake in very little time.

Unlike most sponges, there’s no need to separate the eggs, although it is important to sift the flour, or it won’t fold smoothly into the beaten egg mix.

The sponge itself has only four ingredients – eggs, sugar, SR flour and hot water.  It takes ten minutes to mix, ten minutes (or so) to bake and less than ten minutes to fill and roll.  The finished cake texture is soft and springy, and the flavour quite uncomplicated, but charming in its own simple way.  It only keeps for a day, so bake it when you have company…


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