Blackberry Fairy Cake Buns
Blackberries or brambles, as we used to call them when I was growing up, are natures way of thanking us at the end of a (hopefully) hot summer; just before the children start back to school, and in a myriad of lanes, back roads, gardens and hedgerows, glossy purple berries can be spied towards the end of august. Often festooned in lacy cobwebs and covered in early morning dew, they are the foragers dream, and I don’t think there can be many people who have not gone “brambling” or “blackberrying” when they were young, indeed, it is still a memory that resonates with me on so many levels.
It’s not just the memories of berry stained fingers and scratched legs that I remember with distant fondness, as well as steaming blackberry and apple pies with crisp golden pastry lids, or mum’s blackberry and apple dumplings, but it’s the literature that I grew up with, the stories that were read to me at bedtime; my favourite book was Fairies of the Flowers and Trees, written and illustrated by Cicely Mary Barker. The images fascinated me and I fell asleep with dreams of diaphanous clad fairies, elves and little people fluttering around flowers and trees, laden with blooms, blossom and berries, the songs, poems and tales that accompanied each “fairy” were fodder for an over imaginative child, and even today, I think the books are magical.
As well as these old books, when my daughter was growing up, I discovered another series of books that she and I both loved, Brambly Hedge. In these books, families of mice live by a stream and a bramble hedge, where their lives are drawn through charming illustrations through the seasons. There’s Lord and Lady Woodmouse, Dusty Dogwood the miller, Old Mrs Eyebright and several other mousey characters. In the “Autumn Story” book, we see blackberries and brambles come into their own, with all the mice families harvesting them to store throughout the winter, as well as making pies, jams and wine. And, as I ponder and muse on old childhood books, my own blackberries in the back garden are ripe and ready to pick…..
…….although not in quite the same way as the mice are harvesting their berries in the image above! I have many blackberry recipes on Lavender and Lovage, I will share a list at the end of this post, but in all my jam, jelly, pies and pudding recipes, I don’t seem to have any baking recipes for small cakes, buns or muffins as most people call them nowadays. And so, with that in mind, today’s recipe for Blackberry Fairy Cake Buns was devised, and to date, I have made THREE batches of these moist, purple berry-laden cakes, with some being popped in the freezer for future enjoyment.
These plumptious berry bakes are the star of my early autumn kitchen and would make the perfect lunch box treat. A goodly amount of blackberries are added, and once baked, spiced brown sugar is sprinkled over the top for an added crunch and spiced warmth. They may not be the stuff of my childhood dreams and memories, but these are one of the best baking recipes I have created in a while, in my humble opinion! And, if you don’t believe me, then why not whip up a batch today, and enjoy them with an afternoon cuppa. You can add apples, if you wish, but for me all that is needed are a bag or two of ripe seasonal berries. Karen
I am entering these Blackberry Fairy Cake Buns (Muffins) into The Great British Blackberry Recipe Round-Up, hosted be me and my friend Janice! WHY not join in too – the link is open until the 18th September
As these have eggs in them and they are cakes, I am adding the to Dom of Belleau Kitchen’s monthly Simply Egg-Cellent challenge for September.
Blackberry Recipes on Lavender and Lovage: