The weather here has been a little erratic – raining one moment and sunny the next. It is hard to make any concrete outdoor plans without preparing for possible disappointment.
On the day when J and I were going for an outdoor film festival, we were half-prepared to just can the whole thing if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Thankfully, that evening was enjoyably windy unlike many other evenings, and with a stoke of luck, not a single raindrop throughout the night.
The film we watched was “A touch of sin” by Chinese director Jia Zhangke. This film weaves together parallel stories of four characters in contemporary China; it won the best screenplay at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film was pretty good though the themes were a little dark and disturbing. A little weird to be munching on our little picnic (food, dessert and beer) with so much violence on the screen.
I have been baking a lot with berries in recent days as you can probably see. The bounty of summer berries seem here to stay for a little while more and it is time to make full use of it.
This blueberry crumble cake is a dead-easy cake to throw together and still rewarding enough for a lazy afternoon (picnic) snack or a sweet Saturday breakfast.
It was both my afternoon snack as well as breakfast the next morning and I can’t complain (not one bit).
The almond meal not only lends the cake a wonderful almond flavour, it keeps the cake extremely moist which makes it a forgiving cake to bake (even if you over-bake it slightly, it would still be moist). It is J’s favourite kind of cake. He generally loves all cake with almond/hazelnut meal in them.
I added a crumble on top of the cake which makes the almond cake a little more of a delight to eat with its nice and sweet crumbly bits. You can always choose to skip making the crumble topping but believe me, it doesn’t take too much effort for that satisfying crumb.
I hope there is better weather where you are for some outdoor picnic fun and food.
Blueberry almond crumble cake
Makes a 9 inch round spring-form cake
This is a lovely cake to have for an afternoon tea. You can replace the blueberries with other types of berries like raspberries, blackberries. Strawberries may give out more liquid and make the batter a little wetter. If using frozen berries, use them straight out of the freezer. Do not thaw the berries before using.
For the almond cake:
140g unsalted butter, cubed
70g brown sugar
70g granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (optional)
140g ground almond
140g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
240g fresh blueberries
For the crumble:
90g unsalted butter, cubed
90g all-purpose flour
90g granulated sugar (you can also use half brown sugar and half granulated sugar)
2 tbsp rolled oats (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a 9 inch spring-form cake tin with parchment paper and grease the sides of the tin.
2. Prepare the crumble first: Mix flour and sugar together. Then add in butter cubes and using your fingertips, rub in the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a coarse breadcrumb like texture. It is okay if there are few bigger lumps through the crumble mixture. Add in rolled oats, if using, and mix through. Keep this in the fridge to chill down while you prepare the cake.
3. Cream the butter and both types of sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well before adding the next. Add in the vanilla and almond extract.
4. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and almond meal into the mixture in one or two additions and mix until well-incorporated. Stir in the blueberries into the cake batter. The cake batter is pretty thick but that is the way it should be.
5. Transfer the cake batter into the cake tin. Use the back of your spatula to level the top to make sure the cake surface is even. Using your fingertips, break up the crumble into clumps all over the cake. Bake at 180 degrees for about 1 hr to 1 hr 10 minutes or until a cake skewer comes out clean. The cake should look golden brown.
6. Transfer the cake onto a wire rack and allow it to cool in its tin for about 10 minutes before removing it from the tin. Serve with a dusting of icing sugar and a side of crème fraîche. The cake taste best when it is still warm though it is still very good at room temperature.