Thursday 21 August 2014

A Friendship Cake....

I met my longest-standing friend,Isobel, on my first day at a new primary school 42 years ago! Of course, the closeness of school years can't continue forever - those days when I would say goodbye to her on the school bus and then call her the minute I got home to continue our conversation....but we have been in each others lives in some way from that day to this. She and her husband, Brian, now run a successful & delicious crumble business based in beautiful Somerset - so our lives aren't so very different once again (although Isobel also has two young & gorgeous children to juggle!)

When she used to come to our house for tea, there was one cake that my Mum would bake that Isobel absolutely adored...& to this day my mother still refers to this as 'that cake Izy loves'! So, as the days are somewhat autumnal right now, I thought that I would reproduce the recipe here (with a few tweaks) in honour of our friendship. This one's for you, Is! xx

Blackberry Streusel Cake

For the streusel topping:
100g plain flour (you can use spelt/wholemeal if you have it)
80g butter
1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
50g light brown muscovado sugar

For the cake:
200g self raising flour
100g light brown muscovado sugar
200g butter
3 free-range eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional - but I love cinnamon!)

About 250g blackberries (preferably picked from a sun-drenched bramble bush! You can use raspberries or blueberries too, if blackberries aren't in season)

Line a 23cm square pan with baking parchment.
Preheat oven to 175c

First make the topping; just place all the streusel ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it forms large crumbs...
 tip into a small bowl & set aside. Without washing the bowl of the processor, add in all the cake ingredients (except the fruit) & whizz to a smooth, silky batter..
 It won't be too liquid as it needs to hold up the berries & topping! Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and level the top roughly...
 then stud with the don't have to be too precise, but try & make sure that there's an even covering of fruit all over the surface...
 finally scatter the streusel over the berries...
 distribute it fairly evenly over the top...don't pack it down, and I think it looks lovely when a few blackberries show through the crumbs too! Bake in the preheated oven for around 45 minutes...the streusel will look golden brown, the middle will be slightly domed. You can test by pushing a skewer or cocktail stick into the centre & checking that no wet dough is sticking!
 Then cool in the pan on a wire rack...however, this is so delicious served slightly warm so feel free to cut it then and enjoy a slice...perhaps with cream?
 Store in an airtight container, or wrap in foil will keep in a cool place for a couple of days (not longer, as the fresh fruit will deteriorate.)
 I recommend eating a large square, with a big steaming cup of coffee,sitting in the August sunshine in a garden somewhere...if you are sharing with a friend, so much the better (it doesn't have to be Isobel, although she would be my choice....)

Enjoy! And now I'm back to the brownies...also delicious with friends! xx


  1. Hello dear Rachel,
    Your friendship cake is such a lovely tribute to Isobel and your life-long friendship. The photos of the cake are gorgeous. A large square piece would be the perfect addition to the coffee I'm sipping right this minute. Happy Thursday, sweet friend! xoxo

  2. Rosinda and I will b right over! Stormy and hot here, but this looks like the perfect antidote to a dreary day!

  3. Perfect timing! I have a garden full of wild brambles just ready for the picking, and a brand new Kitchen Aid just out of the box! Why, this could be the very first thing I make. Serendipity~do~dah! Thank you for sharing your Friendship Cake recipe ~ and what a sweet tribute to your friendship

    1. Deborah Obrien: How happy I am for you and your new Kitchen Aid! I love mine and know you will love yours, too. And how wonderful to have a bramble full of blackberries. Enjoy!

  4. Hi, Rachel! Borrowing a well-illustrated word from another of your special friends (you'll recognize which one): YUM! Not quite autumnal here in southern Alabama with dangerously high heat warnings the next few days, but your cake looks delish. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Friends are a special blessing.

  5. Dear Rachel! You make your recipes a work of art. How lovely this sounds. And what a special story for your dear friend. How delightful your blogs. They bring mini-holidays to my days. Happy Friday & weekend coming dear friend!

  6. Blackberries are plentiful right now; this is a wonderful recipe to try so thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. Made cinnamon buns today since daughter Amanda is here with her husband and new baby. They are her favorite. Cadie took a package of them home with her as well for breakfast tomorrow. I love making them and love watching their faces as they come into the house and get that first whiff of their heavenly aroma. xoxo

  7. Oh this is such a sweet post! Thank you for sharing.


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