Mini blackberry sponge cakes

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These seasonal cakes are so delicious and really make use of blackberries, both in the buttercream, the fondant icing and to decorate.

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I sometimes pop some pieces of blackberry into the sponge (small pieces so they don’t sink) but this time I left the sponge flavoured just with a little lemon – which goes so well with blackberry.

The piping is entirely optional: you can just spread the buttercream over and sandwich the sponges together. For the fondant icing, you can simply spoon it over the sandwiched sponges and let it drip down.

These cakes can, of course, be made with other berries: I sometimes use frozen berries later in the year for the purée. I sometimes pop some chopped apple into the sponge (such as with my blackberry and apple cake)

A fruity buttercream

The filling here is a variation on my standard fruit buttercream, with the additon of blackberry purée and white chocolate. Without the chocolate, the additon of the purée might curdle the buttercream – the chocolate acts as a very effective stabiliser, as well as adding chocolately richness!

I often make too much buttercream for my cakes, but it freezes very well for use in another cake at a later time, so if you have any left-over either make more cakes or freeze it for another time.

Recipe: mini blackberry sponge cakes – makes about 12

Sponges:
  • 3 large free-range eggs (at room temperature)
  • 175g very soft unsalted butter or margarine
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 175g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
Blackberry & lemon purée:
  • about 100g blackberries
  • juice of 1 lemon
Buttercream:
  • 150g very soft unsalted butter
  • 100g icing sugar (no need to sieve it!)
  • 100g melted and cooled white chocolat
  • 4-5 tablespoons of the blackberry & lemon purée (above)
Fondant icing:
  • about 100g fondant icing sugar
  • a little of the blackberry & lemon purée (above)
To finish:
  • a few fresh blackberries
  • the fondant icing (above)
  • the buttercream (above)

You will also need mini round or rectangular cake tins (non-stick, but still lightly greased and base-lined with greaseproof)

(1) Prepare the cake tins (see above) and pre-heat the oven to 160C (fan).

(2) Put the cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon just until incorporated: it will only take a minute or so. If you want blackberries in the sponge, gently pop some chopped pieces of blackberry into each and make sure it is covered with the batter.

(3) Bake for about 15-20 minutes until well risen, light golden brown and the cakes are just coming away from the sides. Leave to cool for a few minutes in their tins and invert to a cooling rack until completely cold. Peel off the greaseproof.

(4) Make the blackberry & lemon purée by putting the blackberries and lemon into a food processor/liquidiser and blitzing until it becomes a purée. You can either use it as it is or strain it through a sieve to remove the seeds.

(5) For the buttercream, beat the butter, icing sugar for a few minutes until very light. Add the blackberry & lemon purée and the white chocolate and beat well. Taste, and add a bit more of the purée if you feel it needs it.

(6) Mix the fondant icing sugar with enough blackberry & lemon purée to give a thick icing.

(7) Spread or pipe buttercream along the bottom halves and pop a blackbverry or two on top of the buttercream. If you have any of the blackberry & lemon purée you can spoon this over too.

(8) Take the top halves of the cakes and pipe buttercream around the outside to give a border.

(9) Spoon the fondant icing within the piped buttercream on top and place a blackberry in the centre.

(10) Sandwich together the sponge layers with the buttercream (spreading the buttercream or piping), and finish with a few fresh blackberries.

Ideas for further cakes or decorating cakes are on my post here.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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