Blackberries are popping up everywhere now it's August, and we're collecting them like mad - we love a blackberry cake!
But what to do with the enormous mountain of blackberries? There's only so much cake you can eat (don't tell anyone I said that!!) and with so much other yummy summer fruit about, you can't just limit yourself like that.
That's when your trusty freezer comes in. You can freeze fruit, and blackberries freeze especially well. Simple follow these steps and you'll be enjoying blackberries and blackberry baking (check out our top 3 blackberry cake recipes!) well into the Autumn.
1. Remove any under- or over-ripe blackberries. You want to freeze them in their best state.
2. Spread the blackberries out on a baking tray in a single layer. Then put it in the freezer. This will stop the blackberries sticking together and make them easier to handle when defrosted.
3. Once the berries are frozen - about 2 hours or so - put them into a freezer bag or box for easy storage. They will keep for up to three months.
4. To de-frost, put the box in your kitchen and leave to soften naturally to bake with or eat as berries. Microwaving them will make them mushy - but then, this is great if you want them for smoothies only.
Enjoy - and carry on picking until your freezer is burstng!
We're firmly into Blackberry Season with local bushes bursting with fruit. What to do with them all? ... Make a cake, of course!
Here are three of our favourite blackberry cake recipes. Let us know how you get on trying them out - or give us a buzz if you'd like someone else to do the work for you!
RECIPE 1. BBC Good Food Recipe - simple and tasty blackberry and apple cake. Here's one our Louise made this weekend for the Portishead Triathlon.
RECIPE 2. Cygnet Kitchen - this gorgeous blogger uses sour cream in her blackberry and lemon cake recipe - divine!
RECIPE 3. Farm Flavor - an American website which hosts a fab recipe for a fluffier, creamier blackberry cake, if you'd prefer one like that
Which is your favourite?
The Team @ 280 Bakes
Some Rules are Good. Always Drive on the left. No heavy petting at the pool. However, these baking rules were meant to be broken!
1. WHEN USING BUTTER AND SUGAR IN THE CAKE MIX, CREAM IT TOGETHER FIRST BEFORE YOU ADD THE OTHER INGREDIENTS
This works with a lot of recipes, and is beneficial, but I saw Mary Berry has said that there's two ways to make a Victoria Sponge: The traditional way of creaming the butter and sugar together, then add the other ingredients, or there's the way she prefers, which is to put everything into the bowl together and then mix. I would say that not creaming the butter and sugar is totally ok, then, if Mrs B says so! Do follow the recipe though - some recipes it might be especially pertinent for.
Not sure what 'creaming' means, in baking terms? It's simply mixing the sugar and butter together until they are well combined, and you can't really see the sugar anymore.
2. ONLY USE HIGH QUALITY BUTTER FOR THE FAT NEEDED IN CAKES
Well, you can throw that one right out the window! Over 60% of the orders we have are for vegan cakes, so there's no butter at all there. We use other things like bananas, avocados, oil and dairy-free margarine.
Yes, the cakes will taste different, and if you'd prefer to use high quality butter when 'real' butter is required, that's a good thing, but cakes can easily be made with no butter at all. Check out our recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cake, for example.
3. ALWAYS PRE-HEAT YOUR OVEN
If we were just talking cake baking, I'd agree. Pre-heating the oven is essential for cakes to ensure a consistent bake - and also for bread, actually, as the dough needs to be baked hot and fast. However, when baking pies or crumbles, it's totally fine to whack the dish in the over before it's up to temperature, and it makes the process more heat efficient too.
Can you think of any more rules you can break while baking, cakes, bread or otherwise?
The Team @ 280 Bakes
If you have no scales or your set has broken, don't despair! you can still bake a delicious cake!
It's always best to weigh your ingredients when you bake, especially flour, as it can be a huge variable in terms of the dryness of the cake and the quality of the bake if you get it wrong. However, you do have a few ways you can make a cake if you don't have any scales - let's take a look...
1. Bake a cake using a yoghurt pot
1 pot of yogurt
2 yogurt pots of sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
3 yogurt pots of flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 yogurt pot of neutral-tasting oil or melted butter
Heat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
Beat the yogurt and the sugar together in a bowl.
Beat in the eggs and lemon zest. Sift the flour with the baking powder and beat in.
Finally, add the melted butter (or oil, although it doesn't taste quite as nice) and beat the whole mixture well.
Pour into non-stick muffin tins or a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, approx. 25 minutes for a loaf, 15 mins for buns.
2 level tablespoons sugar
4 level tablespoons butter
9 level tablespoons flour
Cream together the butter & sugar, stir in flour.
Roll out the dough, shape/cut out, and cook for 10 mins at 180 degrees.
Look away now, we don't approve of this final idea!!
5. Buy a packet mix
Everything's already weighed out in these mixes, you just need to add eggs normally, sometimes oil or milk. I warn you now, it won't taste as good as 'proper' cake, but it kind of had to be included on the list as an option...
Next time your battery goes in your digital scales or you old ones break, don't give up. Why not try one of these baking hacks? Let us know how you get on!
Owner, 280 Bakes
A recent question we've been asked is 'does caffeine cook out when baked into a cake?' We answer that question here!
When you bake a boozy bake (and I know you do!) the alcohol in your G&T cake or the brandy in your Christmas cake bakes out and won't get you drunk, no matter how much of that liquored-up cake you eat.
However, the same is NOT true with coffee. When you bake a coffee cake, the caffeine stays in the cake. Cooking coffee generally makes the taste stronger in removing the water, but it won't increase the caffeine content - no extra kick, so don't start justifying coffee cake for breakfast!
Caffeine has a crystalline structure, a bit like sugar. When you cook or bake something with coffee as an ingredient, the water will cook out but the caffeine stays in the food, it doesn't denature.
If you're looking for a great coffee cake recipe, why not try ours? This one is vegan too - try something new today!
Remember, different coffee beans or powder have different strengths. I know for a fact I get more of a kick out of the ground coffee we have at home than the Douwe Egberts instant jar we have for when we're feeling a bit lazier. A lighter roasted bean will have a higher caffeine content than a dark roast, as some of the caffeine sometimes breaks down in the process of roasting.
Soaking the coffee and evaporating the water can decaffeinate it, but it's not 100% effective, and you lose a lot of the delicious coffee taste. If you're really worried about the caffeine levels in a coffee cake, I'd just go for something other than coffee cake!
Now go have a coffee, enjoy your Monday!
Owner, 280 Bakes
Feeling tropical in this heat?
Easy Pineapple Cake
This recipe does what it says on the tin - it's the easiest of the three. A good one to start with if you're not too confident.
Upside-Down Pineapple Cake
Any list of pineapple cake recipes would be lacking without an upside-down one. And this one has cherries in the ingredients - even better. As a bonus, here's a great vegan version, if you're one of our vegan customers.
The Best Pineapple Cake Recipe
I'm not going to lie, this recipe from My Cake School made the cut because of the frosting and filling. Just divine.
Refreshing and flavourful - have a go at baking one of these today and let me know how you get on!
And if you're too busy to bake, we can deliver to you - just ask. (Bristol, Stroud and Portishead only).
Enjoy the sun - stay safe with the sunscreen!
Owner, 280 Bakes
Life with specific dietary needs can be lonely and tough, but we're here to help!
It's Coeliac Awareness Week (starting today), and as a lot of our customers order gluten free cakes, we wanted to share some of the fab blog we've discovered in our recipe researching on alternative diets, be it vegan, avoidance of certain allergens, or a gluten free diet.
If you're gluten intolerant or a full-blown coeliac, you're not alone, despite what you may feel when the standard diet office cake comes round - lots of people share your difficulties, and these blogs prove triumphs on the plate do still happen. Have a good read and let us know if you like any blog in particular.
1. The Gluten Free Blogger - does what it says on the tin and is presented in a beautiful way. Our favourite one of the five we're showcasing today! You can find the author on Twitter too: @GFblogger
2. The Happy Coeliac is another blog you should take a look at - we especially like the recipe for raspberry cheesecake bites.
3. A shop, eating out guides, a forum, recipes... You can find it all on Coeliac Sanctuary.
4. Andy writes his blog from the perspective of a dad with a coeliac child. Some good tips and bags of empathy here!
5. The Gluten Free Goddess - another beautifully presented blog, full of useful information. We really like the section that's gluten free AND vegan.
Hope you found this useful,
The Team @ 280 Bakes
We're problem solvers at 280 bakes - here's Seven problems we can solve for you today!
Welcome to my week long blogathon! I'll be solving one customer problem a day through team 280 Bakes fabulous cake baking and top rated services. Let's get started!
You have a vegan friend visiting this weekend and you have no idea how to feed them.
Well, we're vegan baking specialists, so that's dessert/elevenses/afternoon tea all sorted. Check out our cake ranges, all available with vegan alternatives.
You love to bake but can't eat any more!!
We're always looking for new bakers to join our team. If you're a keen cake baker, you have a car and you're looking to make some extra cash, our position could be for you! Find out more on our 'work for us' page.
Problem # 3
You forgot your friend's birthday!
Never fear, we're here for you when you need a gift last minute. On our CakeOD service (registered trademark, don'cha know?!), you can choose from six customer favourites to be delivered to any Bristol address, same day. Just let us know which cake you'd like by 12.30pm, any day of the week, and we'll get baking. All cakes are available gluten free and vegan, of course.
You'd like to order a cake (because a birthday ain't a birthday without a cake!), but want a little extra more for your friend - they deserve it!
This year we started offering chocolates and flowers as an optional extra to cake orders. Just mention when ordering that you'd like to add one or both of these to make your cake order extra special.
You can't bake to save your life
Take a look at our baking hacks cheat sheet - you'll find some helpful tips to help you nail that bake. And if you're looking for a good recipe to start you off, why not try one of these?
Bread Pudding Pumpkin Based Recipes Tres Leches Cake
You can't eat gluten but you lovvvvve cake
No problem! We have numerous recipes, including ones for the old favourites, for gluten free customers. From Victoria Sponge to Apple Cake, we've got you covered. Just give us a call on 07835 882817 and we'll deliver!
A friend's having a tough time and you want to cheer them up
We quite often get calls from lovely people who just want to cheer up a friend who's not having a good time of it lately. Perhaps they've had some bad news at work, some health problems, or it's a significant sad anniversary. And what better way to show you care than to have a cake delivered. They might even be kind enough to share it with you! We're not saying cake takes away all problems, but at least the recipient knows they're in your thoughts.
These are genuine customer photos - thanks to the subjects for sharing!
That's it for our week long blogathon, solving problems with cake. Which one did you identify with the most?
Great, now I have this song in my head now!
"There's ain't a problem that we can't fix, cos we can do it in the mix!"
Owner, 280 Bakes
We love that you're reading our blog (over 2300 views this week alone!) but here are five other blogs we think you should check out...
All in the spirit of good baking, we recommend a good read of the following blogs. Let us know if you have any favourites we're missing!
The Pink Whisk - we especially like the 'how to' section, and the advice on making macaroons. Give them a go some time!
She Who Eats - Chika's blog is inspired by Japanese food, and her recent post on Rhubarb Pistachio Tarts is mouth-watering, photos to salivate over.
The Boy Who Bakes - The Bake Off's Edd Kimber writes this great blog, and we really like the sometimes international theme he does, touring bakeries in, say, Chicago.
Call Me Cupcake - this is a relatively new find for us, but we love this Swedish blog. Full of new recipes, and a little broader than just baking. We look forward to making the beetroot and ginger ice cream this summer!
My Baking Addiction - This is an old favourite, with loads of great tips, right from basics. We found this post on the different types of sugar used in baking quite helpful, great work from blogger, Jamie.
Enjoy having a browse!
The Team at 280 Bakes
Our Louise has just come back from Costa Rica, bearing photos of cakes from the Latine American country. No tasters, but the photos look awesome!
So, Costa Rica s not known for its cake - or really, even its food. You might think of beaches, wildlife, music, before you think of the food from that area, but there really is so much lovely goodness to try, and cake is no exception. Take a look at some of my photos below ... Let me know if you've ever baked these yourself!
A true baker snaps photos of cake while she's on holiday...
Look out for more cakes from abroad, whenever one of our bakers goes on holiday. You can follow our 'cake holidays' on #280ontour on Twitter.
Thanks for reading,
Louise & Team.
Welcome to the 280 Bakes blog! Most posts are by our team, but if you fancy guest blogging, give us a shout!