Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 20th September 2013
Busy weekend ahead, my nephew, Michael is getting married tomorrow. Our family is coming in from the US today for the festivities; I can’t wait to see everyone. I thought I would make some coffee cakes using the last of my mom’s blackberries and pears (I’ll share the recipe next week). This Blackberry and Almond Shortbread Cake is simple to make yet so flavourful.
I can’t believe that almost all of my nieces and nephews are married, only a few left to go and it’s brought me to the realization that my kids are quickly getting to the age of meeting someone special and settling down too. I’m not sure I’m ready for that!
Or maybe I am. I was chatting with my sister this week and she shared that she sees more of her daughter now than she ever did when she was living at home, I could happily get used to that.
I haven’t shared this with you yet because it’s been very difficult for me, very recently we lost our precious little pup, Kisses (I still can’t talk about it without bursting into tears). It was sudden and very unexpected. I’ll never forget the feeling of emptiness when I returned home that day, for the first time since Moe passed I felt alone.
The kids are busy with school, work and friends, which translates to usually having the house all to myself. Kisses was always right by my side and followed me whereever I went, it’s been very difficult adjusting to life without her.
Back to cakes I’m blubbering already. In between all the wedding events usually everyone gathers at mom’s house at various times throughout the day and the weekend and I thought it would be nice to make some cakes for all to enjoy.
This type of cake is perfect for coffee time but can easily be served for dessert too. I like to serve warm with a scoop of homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and a sprinkling of toasted almonds.
If you prefer you could make individual mini cakes. I think serving individual cakes always makes guests feel extra special. The mini cakes are perfect for lunchbox treats too. To make the mini cakes I recommend using muffin tins or ring moulds. They store beautifully in an airtight container in the freezer.
Storing in season berries in the freezer for use in the fall and winter months is something I’ve been doing faithfully these last few years unfortunately this year I didn’t. I’m going to be paying dearly for it this winter. The berry’s texture is compromised when freezing but they’re perfect for using in cakes like this one.
Although you could use store-bought blackberry jam I encourage you to make homemade instead, the taste is amazing. If in season blackberries aren’t available in your area, frozen berries like I mentioned is a great substitute. The jam took less than 20 minutes to prepare, throw everything into a skillet and stir occasionally, doesn’t get any easier than that.
Blackberry and Almond Shortbread Cake
This blackberry and almond cake is simple to prepare but so delicious. This cake freezes beautifully, so make an extra one to have on hand when life is a little too chaotic and you don’t have time to bake.
Makes 1 23-cm (9-inch) cake
Recipe category: Cake
- Shortbread Pastry
- Blackberry Jam
- 906 g (4 cups) fresh blackberries, stemmed and washed
- 450 g (2 cups) caster (superfine) sugar
- 45 ml (3 tablespoons) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- In bowl of food processor, process blackberries until coarsely chopped. Transfer the mixture to large sauté pan.
- Add sugar and lemon juice and stir to combine well. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until thickened, about 15 minutes (jam will continue to thicken as it cools).
- To remove seeds, press the blackberry mixture through fine mesh sieve into heatproof bowl with flexible spatula, discard seeds. Let stand uncovered until completely cooled. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator to chill until ready to use.
- 313 g (2½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 170 g (¾ cup) unsalted butter, soft but cold
- 225 g (1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 2 large eggs, reserve whites from 1 egg for egg wash
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Seeds from 1 vanilla bean (reserve pod for another use)
- ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
- 2 cups seedless blackberry jam
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed-lemon juice
- 27 g (¼ cup) sliced almonds
- Sanding sugar (coarse sugar), demerara or turbinado sugar
- Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F). To prepare springform pan, unlatch and remove sides, flip the removable base over so that the lip is facing down. Line removable base with sheet of nonstick baking paper with 5 cm (2-inch) overhang and, reassemble pan. (Flipping the base over makes it much easier to remove the cake from the base because it easily slips off the baking paper because the lip is facing down.) In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt until combined well.
- In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 5 minutes.
- Reserve whites from 1 egg (for egg wash). Place the remaining 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk in small bowl and lightly beat with a fork. To the butter mixture, add the egg mixture, lemon zest, vanilla seeds and almond extract and beat at medium speed until well blended, 2 minutes.
- Gradually add the flour and beat at low speed until flour disappears and mixture is well blended.
- Remove bowl from mixer and gather the pastry into a ball. Evenly divide the pastry dough into two pieces. Wrap one piece in plastic and transfer to the refrigerator to chill.
- Place the other piece in the prepared springform pan and with your fingers press evenly over the base and about 5 cm (2-inches) up the sides.
- In small bowl stir together blackberry jam and lemon juice until combined well.
- Spoon jam into pastry shell and spread evenly spread to sides with offset spatula.
- Remove the other piece of pastry from the refrigerator and transfer to sheet of nonstick baking paper. Using lightly floured rolling, roll out pastry into a 26 cm (10¼ inch) round. Carefully transfer pastry round to freezer and chill until almost firm, about 10 minutes. (Pastry is extremely soft and will tear easily, chilling it until almost firm makes it much easier to transfer to the surface of the cake.)
- Remove round from freezer and carefully peel off paper. Set the pastry round on top of the springform pan and let stand until the pastry starts to soften. When pastry is softened, carefully press down until the pastry touches the surface of the jam layer and then pinch the top pastry edges to the base pastry shell edges to secure.
- Lightly beat egg white with a fork. Using pastry brush, evenly coat the surface of the pastry with egg wash. Sprinkle almond slices all over the surface of the cake and then sprinkle with sanding, demerara or turbinado sugar.
- Bake, rotating pan halfway through baking time, until golden, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack. Let stand in tin, 10 minutes. Unlatch and remove sides and let stand on wire rack allowing cake to cool completely.
- Buon Appetito!
Recipe published on by Grace Massa Langlois for Grace’s Sweet Life
Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, almond recipes, almonds, blackberry cake, blackberry recipes, blackberry tart, cake, cakes, dessert, desserts, desserts for entertaining, entertaining, food, food photography, food photos, fruit, pastry, pastry recipes, shortbread, shortbread pastry, shortbread recipes, Summer desserts, tarts
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Cakes & Cheesecakes, Crostate, Dolci alla Frutta, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Fruit Desserts, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Pies & Tarts, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Torte