I like baking. Despite a professed not-very-sweet-tooth, the mixing and pouring and measuring is satisfying, And everyone becomes your best friend when you have fresh, real cake...
Reminds me: Charne (Shar-nay) Human and the chocolate cake. Charne had big blue sad eyes and gold hoop earrings before anyone had pierced ears.We were little together at St Michael's, a girls' school in Bloemfontein. She was Janine Oberholzer's best friend (the best friend business has always flummoxed me - if you have a best friend, then what are your other friends? Not Quite Good Enough?). Or perhaps I secretly have best friends, but don't tell them, in case I'm not their best friend...the horror.
Charne came over to play a few times. My mom - who baked everything from scratch - bought us a boxed cake mix to bake every time. Then one day Charne rang the doorbell, escorted by her mother, as usual. At the door I confessed: We don't have cake today! And Charne turned on her heel and marched back up the the garden path and through the big doors in the high white wall, and out of my life.
Maybe Janine Oberholzer had more consistent cake. She and Charne remained inseparable.
This cake is Nigel Slater's with my usual, interfering tweaks. I read about it in The Guardian. The photograph made me hungry (it also made the cake look as though the oven may have been too hot!). He calls it a cake for midsummer. I call it incredible. His recipe is wonderful, if super rich.
I changed the quantities to less butter, with the addition of some milk (in other versions I have also used yogurt), and I upped the blueberry content.
I used a hand whisk, as I have no electric mixer. In Brooklyn you are not allowed to have electric mixers, and in fact a churn is preferred for making your own butter from the cow on your roof.
As I say, I whisked, and everything was fine.
I folded in the very last handful of terrace blueberries and used dripping sweet yellow peaches from the market.
Peach and Almond Cake with Blueberries
110g/3.5 oz butter
2 large eggs
120g/4 oz self-raising flour (or regular flour + 1.5 teaspoons baking powder)
100g/3.5 oz ground almonds
1/3 cup milk
1 cup blueberries
1 ripe peach, cut into small pieces
a few drops of vanilla extract
Heat the oven to 180'C/350'F. Grease a spring form pan.
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat the eggs and add, a little at a time, to the creamed butter and sugar. If the mixture separates, stir in a tablespoon of the flour.
Fold the flour and almonds into the butter mixture, in two or three separate additions. Add the milk and stir well. Add the vanilla. Last, add the chopped peaches and blueberries. The mixture will be pretty firm by this time. If it is too stiff add a little more milk.
Scrape the cake mixture into a greased springform cake tin or loaf pan and bake for about one hour. Test with a skewer – if it comes out clean, then the cake is done. Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the tin then loosen the edges, tip out and cool.
I dare you to wait until it is cool. You won't be able to.
This is divine. Truly. Moist, pillowy, luscious, light (in feel, certainly not in calories), with a slightly, ever so slightly sticky crust. I am smitten.