Peach and raspberry tray-bake cake

Peach and raspberry tray bake fruit cake recipe by Very Berry Handmade

Here’s a quick and delicious fresh fruit cake for you to try. I think of it as rather a traditional recipe – I’ve retrieved it from the notebook of recipes my mum collected together, and I remember it being a family favourite when I was kid. There are no fancy ingredients – it’s the flour, butter, sugar, eggs, milk and fruit type recipe that I still think can’t be beaten.

It’s completely delicious as a sweet treat that you’d have on the tea table with a lovely cuppa, but you can also serve it warm with cream or crème fraîche. The base of the cake is rather like a rich sweet scone (the British version!) than a sponge, so it doesn’t keep terribly well. If you won’t get through it all on the day that you make it, I would pop it in the freezer for a time when you need a treat.

Peach and raspberry tray bake cake recipe

It’s a very practical cake recipe because it starts with store-cupboard ingredients and you can use up whatever soft fruit you have lying around, as long as you have around 250g in total. I had a couple of slightly wrinkly peaches and a handful of raspberries that needed eating up, so went with that fantastic fruit combination, but cherries, blueberries, loganberries, tayberries, gooseberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, nectarines and strawberries are definitely all options.

Peach and Raspberry Traybake Cake

  • Servings: 12 small slices, 9 if you are serving for a dessert
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Ingredients

  • 150g self raising flour  – I use 50/50 wholemeal and white. If you don’t have SR flour you can add 2 level teaspoons of baking powder to 140g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 60g butter, from the fridge, cut into small pieces
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 peaches peeled, stoned and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 100g raspberries, prepared and washed

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 190C (180C fan), Gas 5.
  2. Line a 18cm square (7 inch square) loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment. Grease the tin a bit so that the baking parchment won’t move around when you put the mix in the tin later.
  3. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and add the butter (in small pieces). Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips – or you can use a food processor or mixer of course.
  4. Stir in the sugar, then take out 2 tbsps of the flour/butter/sugar mixture and set aside to use later.
  5. Stir the beaten egg and milk into the remaining flour and sugar mixture. It should be the consistency of very thick sponge mix or very wet scone mix!
  6. Spread the mixture into the tin, making the centre slightly indented so that it doesn’t rise too much in the middle when baking.
  7. Sprinkle the fruit over the base mixture, followed by the reserved crumble mix.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the top is light golden and the cake is slightly risen. You can test the middle of the cake with a skewer – if it comes out clean of dough, then the cake is cooked.
  9. Cool in the tin for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
  10. Serve warm with softly whipped cream or crème fraîche, or cold with a cuppa..

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When your cucurbits are out of control 

Five great recipes when there's just too much zucchini or courgette

I didn’t make a  great job of checking our courgette/zucchini bushes when we got home from our break. I did some tidying in the garden when the sun came out this afternoon, and spotted these (mostly) monstrous specimens lurking under leaves and in dark corners. Woopsie.

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Only one of these courgettes/zucchini is a sensible size…

Here are some great ideas for what to do when you have courgettes/zucchini taking over your veggie rack – hope you like them! And if you have any great recipes, do share, just in case I miss a few more epic-sized veggies!

Make my super-spicy fiery courgette relish – this is my favourite preserve EVER, and I have to say I have used up most of my courgette harvest making this amazing stuff. Great on a cheese sandwich, awesome as a side with curry, brilliant with sausages and bacon too, I absolutely love it.

Courgette relish 2

Try a delicious curry vegetarian curry. One of my favourites is this Courgette and Pepper Sabzi recipe by my Indian food hero, Madhur Jaffrey, from her brilliant book The Curry Bible. It is very easy to make, containing a few easy to obtain spices (try an Indian supermarket or Sous Chef if you can’t find them in your local supermarket) and produces deliciously fresh and spicy results.

Fry up some yummy courgette fritters. My favourite version of these is Nigel Slater’s recipe for courgette, feta cheese and dill fritters from The Kitchen Diaries Book 1. I can’t tell you how delicious they are, and they use up an awful lot of courgette. Just make sure you have your oil nice and hot, and don’t try to make them in a rush, they are fragile little things!

Make minestrone – we love this recipe by Antonio Carluccio – it’s so simple and practical. Use courgettes, aubergine, carrots, cabbage, potato, spinach, kale, chard, beans, peas – basically a combination of whatever you have glut of. You could make your own pesto to go with it too, using our recipe for rocket and pumpkin seed pesto (a bit cheaper than the standard basil/pine nut version).

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And for pudding? Well it’s got to be the highly recommended, very rich and chocolatey Courgette and Chocolate Cake. Yum, yum.

Gluten-free brownies and a chocolate giveaway

loads of gluten free brownies with chai spices

I first tried the gorgeous travel-inspired chocolates of Cocoa Hernando at a Blogger’s Food Fest last year… I was intrigued by the Masala Chai-spiced chocolate (regular readers will know that I am addicted to Masala Chai – a kind of spiced tea which is hugely popular in India and elsewhere), and it was the first packet I reached for on my journey home. I was so impressed – the smooth and sweet milk chocolate is a perfect partner for the warming chai spices (which generally include cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper, but there are lots of regional variations).

Masala chai chocolate from Cocoa Hernando

As soon as I got home, I got in touch with Paul, who owns Cocoa Hernando, to ask for more samples (never miss a trick me!) to use in a recipe, and maybe a box for a giveaway. A year later, after Paul has been off on his travels (to get more chocolate inspiration I am sure – check out his Instagram account for fabulous pics), we’ve finally achieved our plan.

Chocolates from Cocoa Hernando

First up, here’s my recipe… after dithering about maybe ice-cream, or a spiced chocolate loaf cake, I settled on brownies, because I felt the richness of a brownie would carry the spice flavours really well… and they certainly do.

Chai-spiced gluten-free brownies

  • Servings: 9-16 pieces
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Recipe Notes

Even if you can’t get hold of some of the beautiful Cocoa Hernando chocolates (but do!), you can still add the spices to your brownie mix and include milk chocolate buttons, chunks or a broken up bar of milk chocolate. Feel free to vary the spice mix – ginger, nutmeg, star anise, coriander, chilli and allspice are all possibilities. But keep the quantities small, you can always add more next time round! This recipe is based on David Lebovitz’s, with a couple of tweaks. It is a great recipe and a great blog – I urge you go check it out.

Ingredients

  • 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into very small pieces
  • 85g salted butter
  • 130g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • 30g cornflour (I know – it doesn’t seem much, but that really says thirty)
  • A small pinch each of cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger and ground cardamom and a twist of black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp milk, if needed
  • 70g Masala chai spiced chocolate disks from Cocoa Hernando, broken up into thumbnail-sized pieces

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 9in square baking tin (you could use an 8in tin, but you will probably need about 5 minutes more cooking time) with baking parchment.
  • Measure the dark chocolate and butter into a small saucepan. Put on the lowest possible heat, and melt, stirring gently all the time. If it is hard for you to get a low heat on your stove, then use a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Take off the heat as soon as the mixture is smooth.
  • Leave the melted chocolate mixture for a moment or two to cool – and whilst you are waiting, sieve the cornflour and cocoa into a medium bowl. Stir the spices into this mix.
  • Stir the sugar into the melted chocolate mixture. Then stir in the eggs, one at a time.
  • Add the cornflour/cocoa/spice mix, stir gently at first, then beat vigorously for at least one minute until the mixture is very smooth. Brownie batter needs to be thick like treacle or a thick milkshake, but not so thick that it is difficult to beat at this stage. Feel free to add a tablespoon or 2 of milk if the mixture feels a bit too thick.
  • Pour about 1/3 of the mixture into the tin and then scatter on 1/3 of the Masala Chai-spiced chocolate pieces. Then add a third more mix (it won’t really cover the first layer, but that doesn’t matter), and a third more of the chocolate pieces. Then repeat, finishing with the chocolate pieces on the top.
  • Pop into the oven to bake, and set a timer to check after 20 minutes. Brownies should be just barely set in the middle of the baking tin when they are ready to come out of the oven. If the mix is still wet in the centre, bake for another couple of mins then check again. And remember – it’s always better to undercook rather than overcook a brownie, so if in doubt, take it out!
  • Leave to cool in the tin for half an hour or so, and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  • These brownies are very rich, so I generally cut into 16 pieces (and then eat two 😉 ) – but I leave that decision to you!

a pile of gluten free brownies

Bespoke Chocolate Giveaway!

Personalised bespoke box chocolates from Cocoa Hernando

I have chocolate for you…

good luck logo

Here’s lots more Very Berry recipes!