Picking good berries and baking sweet sponge cake

Every few weeks I have a slot chatting about food or recipes on BBC Radio Leeds.

We picked berries and and made sponge cake!
We picked berries and and made sponge cake!

I always look forward to it and I try to choose a topical theme to keep things varied.

This month however the producer asked if I could focus on blackberries as there seemed to be an abundance of them this year in our hedgerows.

Of course, I was happy to oblige, and I set to work thinking of all the things that we can do with the humble blackberry.

One of my childhood memories is of my Grandpa Carter making jar upon jar of the most delicious blackberry jam.

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I don’t know if he had a secret ingredient that made the jam so scrumptious or if it was just the fact that it was spread upon thick, white, bakers’ bread with lashings of salty ‘best’ butter that made all the difference.

Do we still use the phrase ‘best’ butter these days?

Now is the perfect time to take a walk and pick blackberries that are growing big and juicy just now in the hedgerows.

Once you have the berries home give them a good wash under cold water before you cook them.

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If you want to freeze some, let them dry and then lay them on a board in single file and pop them in the freezer, once frozen solid you can put them in a bag and tuck them away at the back of the freezer for later in the year.

You could also cook them with some sugar and then freeze, all ready for

a crumble topping.

I went to visit my friends Glen and Lyn last week and we sat in the garden with a cuppa.

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Lyn served a fabulous blackberry crumble cake with it, and it was a perfect match with the tea.

It is simple to make. First make a sponge cake mixture using equal quantities of butter, sugar, self-rising flour and eggs.

Grease a 20cm loose bottom cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.

Pour in the batter and cover with uncooked blackberries.

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Then make a crumble mixture using butter, sugar and flour.

I used soft brown sugar and added a teaspoon of mixed spice.

Cover the blackberries with the crumble and bake in a moderate oven for about fifty minutes until the crumble is golden brown. Serve warm or cold!