I’ve probably mentioned before that I’m a big fan of Jo Wheatley who won the Great British Bake Off back in 2011. I love baking from her two recipe books and her Apple and Blackberry Loaf Cake is absolutely gorgeous. I have baked this recipe a couple of times before but last week I planned to bake it for the parents at school where I work. When the new starters settle into school we have a Welcome Mass in church and then the parents are invited back for tea or coffee. I usually bake some goodies to treat the parents.
I wanted to bake something seasonal and using fruit from my garden. I have a small apple tree in my front garden with some eating apples on it but my greedy labrador has worked out a way of shaking the tree so an apple will fall off and he can get it! No apples for us then, so I used ones from the supermarket but I did manage to get the blackberries from the hedge in my garden.
Blackberries picked from the hedge in my back garden.
Anyway, last week was very stressful in lots of ways. It started off with a powercut in our village on the Sunday night which was a massive problem for me. It had a knock on effect all week. At least it had its merits: we got to talk to one another instead of my hubby being glued to the telly. It was also pretty to look out at the full moon. Instead of going to bed at 11pm, it was 9.30pm and I hadn’t got my work done on the computer. The power ended up being off until about 4am and there were workmen across the road from me setting up a noisy generator. I was very grateful that they got us wired up to a generator though.
So, two days later and our end of the village is still wired up to a generator. But I came home at lunchtime on the Tuesday ready to start baking that afternoon for our coffee morning. I wanted to bake two different traybakes and an Apple and Blackberry Loaf cake, hence the title of this post! It never happened! The generator wasn’t working and there were two vans next to it with workmen near it. The power was off AGAIN in our village! Why not another time? In the end I chose to go up to my hubby’s office 5 miles away and work on his spare computer on my planning (which I was going to do that night) and to get a much needed cup of tea! Hubby said that was fine when I phoned him on my mobile. Only when I got there twenty minutes later, we find that his internet server had gone down! What a joke!
So, all I could do was have a cup of tea and then go and collect the kids from school. What a wasted afternoon! When I got back in from the school run, the power had come back on again so I opted to bake just the loaf cake.
The cake had a crunchy streusel type topping on it made from brown sugar, butter and flour. The rest of the ingredients for the main cake were mixed together with the chopped apple and blackberries folded in at the end. I always use paper loaf tin liners and I popped the cake into the oven before our dinner. At the same time I hoped and prayed that the power would stay on while it was baking!
At the time I was very distracted and had lots going through my mind. When the cake was baking I couldn’t remember when I’d put it in the oven as I’d forgotten to set the timer! It was complete guesswork so I went by the look of the cake. I tested it and when it seemed cooked I put it on the worktop to cool. To save time at these events I usually pre slice the cakes and I tried to slice the loaf at home. What a mistake! The cake crumbled and looked a complete mess. So I gave up and planned on buying some biscuits at the garage on the way to school the next morning instead.
As I had rushed my baking, all the blackberries had sunk to the bottom of the cake. The cake was also very crumbly when I cut it.
My family ended up with another cake to go into the freezer and my school ended up with biscuits bought from the garage.
Crammed into a plastic box to put in the freezer for another day.
If you would like to bake this recipe for yourself, then you can find it in Jo’s first book “A Passion For Baking”. I’m sure it would work well with other fruits such as raspberries or pears. Last Friday after a busy time catching up on jobs, I defrosted a slice and enjoyed it with a cup of coffee. It was gorgeous.
Love Sam xx