Gooseberries are tart little devils. I remember summers spent at the pick-your-own farm, enduring the torturous wait until they had been carted home and stewed with copious amounts of sugar to eat them. The ones used for this cake came from my friend Nicola’s garden –actually more accurately from her freezer, where they have been stored for the winter months ahead. As did the blackberries, and given the choice several freezer-dwelling fruits, we chose these two as a match.
Fruit and cake is a winner in my book. And you can kid yourself that it is somehow healthy, and can therefore be justifiably eaten for breakfast. The sourness of the gooseberries is offset by more forgivingly mellow blackberries, and the sweet, almondy sponge. Upside down cakes like this one, where the fruit is placed at the bottom of the cake tin, and the batter on top, always provide a satisfying moment when turned over to reveal the fruit underneath. For some reason, I’m always slightly surprised to find it still there, thinking that it might have been consumed by the cake batter.
Having a cake around is dangerous: I get to the stage that I struggle to have a cup of tea without a slice of cake, or more accurately I have a cup of tea as an excuse to eat cake. This cake disappeared in about two hours – and not only (although almost only) due to me. And I had a large slice for breakfast the next day, covered in natural yoghurt – because if something has yoghurt on it, then it’s breakfast, right?!
200g butter, softened
200g light brown sugar
100g plain flour
100g ground almonds
4 medium eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
50g gooseberries, hulled
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g flaked almonds
You’ll need a 20cm cake tin.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease the cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix together the flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Add alternate amounts of the beaten egg and the flour mixture to the butter and sugar, until all incorporated.
Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the bottom of the tin, and arrange the gooseberries and blackberries over the top. Pour the cake batter over the fruit, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top feels springy to the touch, and a skewer inserted in the cake comes out with not raw cake batter on it.