As autumn kicks in, wild Irish blackberries are adorning the hedgerows. A recent stroll revealed a few gorgeous specimens, juicy and ready to pick. Now is the time to get out with your bowls for a bit of foraging, because the harvest will be over in the next week. If the birds or other foragers don’t get to the berries first, heavy mists and rain will cause the unpicked fruit to mould and rot. So get out while you can. Once they’re gone, they’re gone, for another year! Use your pickings in this simple lemon flavoured tray sponge, dotted with blackberries and scattered with chopped almonds, great served warm with cream for dessert, or cold with a cup of tea!
- Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Gradually add beaten eggs a little at a time, with alternate spoons of flour mix, until all eggs are incorporated.
- Fold in the remaining flour with lemon zest.
- Add just enough lemon juice to give a soft, dropping consistency, where the sponge mix will drop easily from the spoon when you lift it out of the mix.
- Spoon sponge into a greased and lined oblong deep sided baking tray (about 20cm x 25cm is good) Scatter over blackberries, which will sink in as the cake bakes. Scatter evenly with almonds.
- Bake at Gas 4 350F 180C until cake is risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cover top with foil if it becomes too brown.
- Serve warm with cream, or remove from tray and leave to cool on a wire rack to eat cold. This will store well for a couple of days in an airtight snap top cake box.