In my most recent CSA basket, I got these late-summer berries (pictured below ) and I, the food-lover that I am, did not have a clue what they were. All I did know was that they were NOT blueberries. I tried googling them, but came up with nothing. Then I turned to twitter. A few tweeple showed me that they were black currants (thank you to the lovely tweeple of the twitterverse for helping me out!). By the way, tweeple is definitely a word. I’m not making it up.
I’m pretty embarrassed that I had never seen black currants before, and I call myself a foodie? I always encountered these berries in jams and sauces, cooked down and sweetened. Fresh, they are quite tart, so they are perfect baked into a sweet late summer cake.
Conveniently, Abby Dodge’s latest baketogether is a summer fruit cake, so that’s what I made with my black currants. I halved the original recipe, and tweaked it a little, using yoghurt in the cake batter (in place of sour cream), and flavoring with vanilla, amaretto, and a touch of organic almond extract to reinforce the flavor of the amaretto. The nutty, amaretto flavor was the perfect complement to the tart black currants.
If you don’t have black currants, any berry, fresh or frozen, would work well, especially raspberries. I think most berries would work really nicely with the almond flavor . Even chopped apricot or peach would be nice. The cake is not an airy-fairy kind of cake, but it is definitely spongy. I guess you could say it’s more “rustic.”
The temperatures at night are definitely colder and crisper than they were in July. It’s sad to say, but I guess summer is winding down. Love it or hate it, it had to happen eventually. At least I have these cakes to warm up with.
Late summer black currant and amaretto cakes
- 3 oz all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1.5 oz unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 oz granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp amaretto liqueur
- 1/8 tsp natural almond extract
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/3 cup yoghurt 80 mL, 2.5% fat
- 3 oz black currant 1/4 pint
- 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease four 250 mL mason jars.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well blended. Set aside for later.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until well blended, about 3 minutes.
Add the egg, beating on medium speed until just blended.
Add the flavorings and the lemon zest.
Add the dry ingredients and the yoghurt alternately into the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape the batter into the prepared jars and spread evenly. Bake for 8 minutes.
After you put the cakes in the oven, make the topping. Combine the black currants, sugar, and flour in a small bowl. Using a table fork, mix the ingredients together to evenly coat the fruit.
After the cake has baked for 8 minutes, working quickly, slide the oven rack out and scatter the fruit evenly over the top of the cakes. Continue baking until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about another 15 to 25 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.