Foraged Bramble, Pear and Hazelnut Crumb Cake

It was Mr E's birthday on Saturday. We had a lovely day, seeing a Festival Fringe show, going to the farmer's market, wandering through the Festival crowds in town, a picnic lunch in the Botanic Gardens, then a walk back home along the Water of Leith.

During the walk home, there was some spontaneous bramble (blackberry) foraging, as they are just starting to become ripe. Here's half of our haul.

I was planning on making banana and maple syrup birthday cake for pudding, but the newly foraged brambles were begging to be baked too - and so Mr E got two birthday cakes... the banana one shall no doubt appear here in due course, but first, here are the foraged fruits in a moist and delicious Bramble, Pear & Hazelnut Crumb Cake.

This is a very impressive looking cake - and it tastes as good as it looks thankfully!

I used a BBC Good Food recipe for a Blackberry & Apple Crumb Cake as my basis, and made a few alterations.

Here's the recipe I ended up with!

Bramble, Pear & Hazelnut Crumb Cake
Serves 8-10
For the cake
  • 175g margarine (I used dairy free sunflower)
  • 150g granulated sugar plus 1tbsp
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 100g plain yoghurt (I used goats yoghurt)
  • 4 medium sized pears
  • 225g brambles (blackberries)
For the crumble
  • 50g margarine (again dairy free sunflower)
  • 50g light muscovado sugar
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g hazelnuts
  • 75g plain flour
Heat the oven to 180C (fan 160C).
Grease and line a 20cm (8in) loose bottomed or spring form cake tin.
First prepare the crumble topping.
Roughly chop the hazelnuts.
Melt the margarine in the microwave (about 30s did it for me), then mix in the sugar, cinnamon, flour and hazelnuts. The resulting mixture will not really be crumbly - don't worry! It will set a bit as it cools, and you can then crumble it over the cake later. I wasn't convinced, but it turned out just fine.

Next prepare the pears.
Melt 25g of the margarine in a frying pan, and add 1tbsp of granulated sugar, and allow to dissolve. Peel, core and cut the pears into 1/8ths. Add to the pan, and cook for about 10 mins until starting to colour and caramelise just a little bit.

Then make the cake batter.
Beat together the unmelted margarine and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then fold in the flour and baking powder. Lastly mix in the yogurt.
Finally assemble the cake.
Pour 2/3 of the cake mixture into the prepared tin and Level it out.
Crumble over 1/3 of the crumble topping mixture, then top with the remaining 1/3 of the cake mixture, followed by another 1/3 of the crumble mixture.
"Arrange" the pears and brambles on the top of the cake (I just tipped the pears on first, followed by the brambles, but artistic arrangement would also be nice!).
Top with the remaining 1/3 of the crumble mixture.
Bake in the middle of the over for about 1.5hrs. Cover it with a sheet of foil after 45mins if it is browning too much on top.
Allow to cool completely in the tin, then carefully lift out the base.
Admire your handiwork, then enjoy!