Today is the Sunday of the late summer bank holiday weekend – the mark of the end of summer here in the UK as the kids start to go back to school over the next week or so.  We’ve started noticing that the nights are drawing in and the days are getting shorter.  Food-wise, it’s like summer is giving us its last of its bounty as the “late fruits” are starting to ripen – blackberries, apples, plums and pears – to get us ready for the autumn.

So, go out and forage!  Grab a big plastic bowl and take it to a park or a field that has brambles in its hedges – you’re going to get scratched up and possibly bug-bit, but the payoff is so worth it!  Big, dark, luscious blackberries that are perfect for  muffins or cakes and make lovely jams.

And, blackberries are easy to freeze so that you can enjoy them all year around!!  All you need to do is line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then pour the berries on it in a single layer and freeze like that – it’ll only take about 30 minutes.  Once they’re frozen, pour them into a zippy bag and throw them back into the freezer.  This way, you won’t wind up with a blackberry brick, but will have dozens of individual berries.

Anyhow, this is one of those fantastic easy-peasy cakes that takes next to no time to throw together – think of it as an “anyday cake” that you don’t have to spend tons of time on.  Throw it together, toss it in the oven and you have a just-about-instant treat for family or to take to work.

Blackberry Upside-Down Cake

Cake

  • 7 oz butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)

Syrup

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp Chambord (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare an 8″ springform pan by buttering it and lining with parchment paper, then pour the three cups of blackberries evenly along the bottom.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar, then beat on medium until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, scraping down the sides to make sure everything is completely smooth.  Remove from the mixer to add the flour, baking powder and salt, mixing in by hand to keep from overbeating.  If the batter feels stiff, loosen with two tsp milk.  Spoon over the blackberries and smooth across the top before popping into the oven for an hour, testing at 55 minutes to see if a sharp knife will come out clean.

While the cake is cooking, make the blackberry syrup by pouring the blackberries, sugar, water and vanilla into a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to the boil, the reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes until it coats a metal spoon and is nice and syrupy.  Sieve into a small pitcher to remove the seeds, then stir in the Chambord.

When the cake is done, remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 30 minutes before inverting onto a plate to cool a little more – you want to serve it still a little warm, so don’t cool completely.  When you’re ready to serve, pour the syrup over the top and let soak in, then slice!

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