Sticky gooseberry cake with saffron and honey with custard
- May 2019
- Serves 8-10
- Hands-on time 30 min, oven time 50-60 min, plus cooling
Gill Meller’s gooseberry cake has a pleasing tartness, balanced by the saffron and honey sponge, and mellowed further with homemade vanilla custard.
Try this baked gooseberry, ginger and crème fraiche cheesecake for another spectacular way with this summer fruit.
- 32.5g (19g saturated)
- 47.4g (33.7g sugars)
- 350g gooseberries, topped, tailed and rinsed
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- Pinch saffron strands
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 175g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 1 tbsp demerara sugar
For the custard
- 1 vanilla pod
- 200ml whole milk
- 250ml double cream
- 75g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 3 large free-range egg yolks
You’ll also need…
- 23cm springform cake tin, greased with butter and dusted with flour
- Put 150g of the gooseberries in a pan (one with a lid) with the honey, saffron strands and ½ tbsp water, then bring to a gentle simmer. Put a lid on the pan and cook, stirring regularly, until the gooseberries form a soft, pulpy compote. Allow to cool, then pass through a sieve into a bowl, pushing it through with a wooden spoon (discard any solids). Chill the purée in the fridge.
- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of sea salt. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat the butter and caster sugar using either a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, sprinkling in 1 heaped tsp flour with each egg you add. Using a large metal spoon, fold in the remaining flour mixture. Finally, fold in the chilled gooseberry purée.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it out with the back of the spoon. Scatter over the remaining gooseberries, then sprinkle with the demerara sugar.
- Bake in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour until golden and springy to the touch. Don’t be alarmed when the gooseberries disappear into the batter as it cooks – it’s normal and they’ll give you a sticky fruity layer at the bottom of the cake. The cake is cooked when a thin knife or metal skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then carefully turn out and transfer to a board or plate.
- While the cake is baking, make the custard. Put the vanilla pod on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to split it lengthways. Scrape the seeds out with the tip of a knife and put them, along with the pod, in a medium saucepan with the milk and cream. Bring to a simmer.
- Combine the sugar, cornflour and egg yolks in a heatproof mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Remove the vanilla pod from the hot milk and cream (dry and keep to flavour sugar), then pour the pan’s contents over the yolk mixture, whisking all the time. Return the mixture to a clean pan and gently cook until it starts to thicken. Keep stirring to prevent scrambling. Pass the custard through a sieve into a bowl, allow to cool, then cover and chill. Serve the custard with the sliced cake (see Gill’s tip).
Outside gooseberry season, buy canned gooseberries, drain and rinse (save any syrup to use in a compote/yogurt), then pat dry on kitchen paper.
Serve this cake while it’s still warm, with cold custard on the side.
The cooled cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Keep the custard covered and chilled for up to 3 days. Serve cold or gently warm through.
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