It’s blackberry season! I love these little berries and if you have time on your hands to wander among some hedgerows, they are available for free all over the country. I got a lovely gift of delicious homemade blackberry jam and decided I had to make a Blackberry Sponge Cake with it.
A sponge cake is probably one of the first cakes you learn to make when starting to bake. A Victoria Sponge cake is traditionally made with just a single layer of jam in the middle and a dusting of caster sugar on top. This is just a bit too plain for my liking so for my Blackberry Sponge Cake I had to add a layer of vanilla cream.
I love the simplicity of a well made sponge cake. It has to be light and airy. For this reason I don’t go with the ‘all-in-one’ method where you chuck all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz til you have a batter. I just don’t think the cake is as light. And you know I usually like my shortcuts! Add any fruit or jam that you like, for instance, I also like it made with stewed apples in the middle.
If you make this with fresh cream it has to be stored in the fridge, which will make the cake more dense. So ideally eat it on the day it is made.
Useful tips & links:
- Apparently the correct way to make a sponge is to weigh your eggs and then use equal amounts of flour, butter and sugar. If you use medium eggs they usually weigh 55g so that’s why I have gone with 225g of the other ingredients.
- You have to have your ingredients at room temperature to make this cake properly. The butter needs to be soft enough so that it will become really fluffy when you beat it. If you plan to make it in the morning, take the ingredients out of the fridge the night before.
- If you want to make a chocolate sponge, substitute about 75g of the flour with cocoa powder.
- For more ideas on using blackberries, have a look at this Apple and Blackberry Crumble or my Panna Cotta Tart.
- Even better, check out Katia’s healthy No Churn Rhubarb and Blackberry Ice Cream or if you are feeling a little more indulgent, Joanne’s Mixed Berry Julep looks wickedly refreshing!
Blackberry Sponge Cake
- 225g of unsalted butter, softened
- 225g of caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 225g of self raising flour
- ½ tsp of baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp. of milk
- 4-5 tbsp. of blackberry jam
- 250ml of double cream
- 1 tbsp. of icing sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 100g of fresh blackberries
- Preheat your oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4.
- Grease and line the base of two 8″ sandwich pans or cake tins.
- Using a stand or hand held electric mixer, cream the butter and caster sugar until pale, light and fluffy. And when you think it’s done, cream it some more. Honestly, you need it to be really light and billowy to give the cake it’s airy texture.
- Beat the eggs and slowly add them to the butter, whisking each time until the egg is incorporated. When all of the egg is added, pour in the vanilla and whisk through.
- Sift the flour, salt and baking powder from a height into the wet mixture. This will add more air.
- Use a spatula or large metal spoon to gently fold the dry mixture into the wet. Stop when the flour is combined. If you overwork it, the gluten in the flour will start to develop and you won’t have the soft texture you want from the cake.
- You want the batter to be of a ‘dropping consistency’, i.e., the batter does not stick to a spoon but drops into the bowl. You don’t want it runny either. If the batter is at this consistency you do not need to add any milk but if the batter is too stiff, gradually add a bit of the milk until you are happy.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 2 tins and use a spatula to smooth the top of the cake.
- Get the cakes into the oven immediately and do not look at them for at least 20 minutes. They normally take 25-35 minutes to cook. You will know they are done when the edges are coming away from the tin, the middle springs back when you touch it and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning them out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a bowl beat together the cream, half the icing sugar and vanilla extract until softly whipped. Take a few of the fresh blackberries and crush them lightly with a fork. Mix them through the cream to give it a rippled effect.
- Once the cakes are completely cool, choose the better looking sponge for the top layer. Spread the jam over the bottom layer.
- Then spoon most of the cream onto the middle of the jam. Gently spread it out evenly but don’t take it right out to the edge. When the top goes on the cake the cream will squish out towards the edge.
- Carefully place the second sponge on top and decorate with the remaining blackberries and icing sugar. Serve the remaining cream on the side if you like.