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Cape Gooseberry Cake

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurston.

You know how some people always know the most appropriate quotable quote to drop mid-conversation or casually tap into their repertoire of jokes to pepper conversations? Yeah, I’m not one of them. I try really hard, I honestly do… but nada! Tabula rasa, blank page, white noise… you get the very blank picture in my head, right?

But what my memory fails me with, geekdom manages to salvage a teeny-tiny bit. It’s my overused and tremendously under-acknowledged phone that now attempts to serve as a cauldron for wise words and wise cracks alike. It’s a bit laborious and extremely geeky, but I try to quickly jot things down whether I’m alone and reading a book or even if I’m with people. I’ve figured that if constantly snapping pictures of oneself can culminate in making ‘selfie’ the word of the year, surely there can be no harm in jotting quotes and jokes down either!

It is thanks to my new found habit of virtual-world scribbling that I was able to note down Zora Neale Hurston’s warm words while listening to a podcast. And really, nothing could be more relevant in summing up the year of cooking on this blog any better. Right through 2013, I was constantly asked by people I’d meet, to define my blog. Food blog, yes, but what’s my niche? And as I was baking this Cape Gooseberry Cake, the answer seemed to appear… it’s fresh, seasonal produce that inspires me! One look at these Cape Gooseberries at the supermarket is all I needed to tap into this recipe I’d read in an old family ‘hand-me-down’ recipe book. (It appears that all is not lost when it comes to my memory which seems to be crammed up with recipes from a zillion books!). Looks like 2014 is already on its way to answering some questions from good old 2013!

I’ve never really propagated that one constantly splurge on kitchen stuff, and this is exactly what I stuck by while baking this cake as well. The aforesaid family recipe book asked that this cake be baked in a 7 or 7.5 –inch square cake pan, which I didn’t have so I decided to work with what I had – a 9-inch square pan. The result was a cake slightly flatter than I would have liked, but certainly not lacking in the taste department! I baked this cake for a second time for my parents to carry for their New Year’s Eve celebrations, but this time in a 7.5- inch round cake pan and the only difference was a smoother top and better disguised berries.

Grated nutmeg, a bit of white wine, aromatic edible rose water and ripe berries… you get my drift… this cake has tremendous depth of flavour to completely compensate for the kind of pan it’s baked in. If you do have a springform pan, it will make the task of baking this easy little cake a tad bit easier. The smooth texture of the cake is set-off beautifully against the ripe berries and rounded off by the sweetness of the snow-like dusting of icing sugar… oh I could bake this cake every week until these berries are in season!

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Cape Gooseberry Cake
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurston.
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a 7 or 7.5 inch square (or round) baking pan with butter and line it with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper too.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder salt together in a medium sized bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter (should be cooled only slightly warm), beaten eggs sugar. Use an electric mixer to give it a quick mix (just a few seconds) and then add the white wine, rose water nutmeg and give a quick mix again of just a few seconds with the electric mixer.
  4. Add the dry ingredients (flour mixture) in 2 to 3 batches and beat well with each addition.
  5. Pour half the cake batter into the prepared tin and arrange gooseberries on the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the gooseberries bake in pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Once out of the oven, allow the cake to cool in the cake pan for 10 minutes before placing it on a wire rack to cool further. Dredge with icing sugar before serving.
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