Baaack.. to basics

Aaand, we’re back!

A bit brown, a little well fed and a whole lot more relaxed, B and I recently spent 7 blissful days in Bali, courtesy of the company he works for. We swam, ate, engaged in pingpong battles (we couldn’t remember the rules, so we made them up. In hindsight, I think these new rules were not to my advantage because I never did end up winning a single match) and occasionally saw sights like this. On the flight home, I cried, only for the end of Vikram Seth’s An Equal Music, but also to quietly mourn a return to reality. A return which marked the end to freewheeling days with the boy, an end to bucketloads of tempe goreng and the end to an otherwise endless supply of chilled frangipani scented towelettes (oh how good those were!).

Now we are back, with the boy still proudly displaying the tiny patch of apricot coloured skin at the back of his neck which he claims is something akin to a tan (his first ever). The piles of laundry have been suitably dealt with and the swimsuit folded away for another day. It is time to bake.

This one is an incredibly easy cake recalling the simple pleasures of taking tea and enjoying a little time out. It is also a cake with which to thank our neighbour, who cared for our plants while we were away.

Black/blueberry and cinnamon crumble cake :
(serves 8-10; from Mix & Bake by Belinda Jeffery)

150g plain flour
110g stone-ground wholemeal plain flour
220g castor sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
80ml light olive oil
180ml milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
200g fresh or frozen blueberries [I used a mixture of blackberries and blueberries]
icing sugar (optional), for dusting

Topping :

35g plain flour
55g brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmet
70g pecans or walnuts
30g cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
100g fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat your oven to 180’C. Butter a 24 or 25cm springform cake tin, line the base with buttered baking paper, then dust with flour and set aside.

For the topping, put the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a food processor and briefly whiz to combine. Add the nuts and scatter the little chunks of cold butter over the top. Pulse just until the butter is incorporated and the nuts are the size of coarse breadcrumbs. Tip this mixture into a bowl and keep it in a cool spot.

Put both the flours, the sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into the food processor and whiz them together for 20 seconds. Tip this dry mixture into a large bowl. Scoop out 1 heaped tablespoon of it into another bowl.

Whiz the oil, milk, egg, vanilla extract and lemon zest together in the processor until they’re well combined. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in this wet mixture. Stir them together until they’re well mixed. Toss the blueberries in the bowl with the reserved spoonful of dry mixture, then gently fold them into the cake batter; I always find it fascinating that this fine, floury coating is just enough to help stop the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the cake as it bakes. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared tin. Sprinkle spoonfuls of the crumble over the top and give the tin a little shake to even it out. Press the blueberries for the topping gently into the crumble.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin on a wire rack for 12 minutes. Release the outer ring of the tin and gently lift it off. Sit another rack (or a flat plate) on top of the cake and carefully invert it onto this. Remove the base and paper and then invert the cake again onto the rack to cool.

Dust with icing sugar just before serving. You’ll find that any leftover cake freezes really well for a couple of weeks. I usually just sandwich the slices of cake between sheets of freezer wrap or baking paper. To defrost, you can microwave them gently, warm them in the oven or just let them sit out at room temperature for about 40 minutes (by way of this, I discovered that the cake is terrific served warm, rather like a pudding, with a little cream). Otherwise, it keeps well stored at room temperature in a tightly sealed container for 2 days.

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  1. Arwen from Hoglet K said,

    March 6, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

    It’s sad to come back to the real world. Sounds like a nice holiday, especially the tempe goreng and novel reading.

    Your neighbour is lucky to get cake in repayment. The cinnamon crumble sounds great with walnuts.

  2. Sophie said,

    March 6, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

    I am so jealous that you got to swim! πŸ˜€ Here I am bundled up trying to forget that there’s still snow outside my window, and you’re also tempting me with that delicious cake?! My oh my, I might just have to find a way to de-gluten it and make it this weekend! πŸ™‚

  3. food librarian said,

    March 6, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

    Welcome back. Sounds soooo lovely! I’m jealous. These look fantastic…placing it on my to do list!

  4. peabody said,

    March 6, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

    This is my kind of basic. Looks nice and moist.

  5. matt wright said,

    March 6, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

    Blimey! Bali, not bad, not bad at all!! What an awesome looking crumble cake. My kind of cake for sure.

  6. Manggy said,

    March 6, 2009 @ 6:57 pm

    Oh my! Times like these I think I am willing to auction of my naturally tan skin, heh heh πŸ™‚ Welcome back! Few things are as heartwarming as neighbors being nice to each other– I’m sure this delightful cake more than made up for the chore! πŸ™‚

  7. Jesse said,

    March 6, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

    Aww, well I’m glad to hear that you at least have a great tan to remind you of your holiday… and mmm, tempe goreng… how I miss thee…

    That cake looks absolutely beautiful.

  8. the projectivist said,

    March 6, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

    oh my goodness you dark horse!
    i love those photos
    especially the flakypaint boat
    (you lucky bint)

    and now to top it all off?
    and not just any cake. no.
    crumble cake.

    if i make it and eat it whilst listening to The Swell Season
    i can pretend i live a charmed life too!

  9. Helen said,

    March 6, 2009 @ 11:33 pm

    Oh that feeling of returning home after a holiday! Never mind though, it sounds fantastic and that picture is incredible. It looks like you have been comforting yourself in style since your return with another of your wonderful creations.

  10. Y said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 12:14 am

    Thank you guys! I always believe in cake as a way of showing appreciation πŸ˜€

    TP: Actually, the link is to B’s photo blog. He is a much better moment-capturer than I will ever be! But yes, the Swell Season were fantastic. Actually, Glen Hansard is always fantastic, with or without cake!

  11. Piggy said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 12:39 am

    Sounds like you had lotsa fun in Bali! I’m starting to mourn for my soon-to-return trip to SA too. πŸ˜‰

  12. Zoë François said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 12:58 am

    Wow, that looks so delicious!!! I’ve heard Bali is just AMAZING!

  13. Aran said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 1:01 am

    oh i like the sound of that!

  14. Amanda said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 2:35 am

    Sounds like you had an amazing time!! I went to Bali about ten years ago and I’m dying to go back…

  15. heather said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 4:46 am

    …and back in style!



  16. snooky doodle said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 8:11 am

    welcome back glad you enjoyed the trip. This cake looks delicious. I d like to try this πŸ™‚

  17. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

    Welcome back! I just got back from New Zealand this morning and of course the first thing that we did was the laundry too. Funnily enough we played a lot of Ping Pong when we holidayed in Bali too.

    The hardest part is indeed coming back to reality and not hopping on a plane going right back. I wonder if anyone does that?

  18. Hannah said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

    Welcome home! I’m so glad you could finally kick up your heels a bit and take a breather- You deserve it. πŸ™‚

  19. grace said,

    March 8, 2009 @ 4:02 am

    welcome back! it’s always a struggle for me to get back into the groove, and i hope it comes easier to you. and clearly, amazing cake. πŸ™‚

  20. clumbsycookie said,

    March 8, 2009 @ 6:54 am

    Welcome back from wonderful Bali! Next time I’ll take care of the plants for that cake, lol!

  21. Christie @ fig&cherry said,

    March 8, 2009 @ 9:38 am

    Mmmmm, love blueberries in cake. I also approve of the amount of cream – perfect! πŸ™‚

  22. Kevin said,

    March 8, 2009 @ 9:44 am

    That blueberry crumble cake looks good!

  23. Christy said,

    March 8, 2009 @ 11:06 am

    I know that feeling well….missing all the fun, carefree days we call the vacation period. Coming back to reality, it’s tough, but you’ll get over it soon. I share your sentiment on tempe goreng though, they are soooo good!! The ones they sell here just can’t compare!

  24. lili - pikeletandpie said,

    March 8, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

    Maybe I should change my mind about Bali – I LOVE ping pong.
    Your cake looks delicious, great photo!

  25. Sophie said,

    March 9, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

    I tagged you for a meme :D!

  26. Simona said,

    March 9, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

    What a great photo! Coming back from vacation requires some adjustment. Lovely cake. A nice option for the stash of frozen blueberries in my freezer.

  27. the caked crusader said,

    March 9, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

    I have that book (isn’t it lovely?) and have tabbed that recipe! Glad to see how beautiful it looks.
    Always sad coming back from a lovely holiday and having reality kick in, but I’m sure the break did you good!

  28. Zita said,

    March 10, 2009 @ 3:14 am

    Ah.. I almost cried too, pictures of me relaxing in Bali plays music in my mind, I know how you feel πŸ˜‰

    But baking is one great something to come back to, isn’t it?

  29. erin @ dessert girl said,

    March 10, 2009 @ 10:01 am

    Sounds yummy!! I’m going to add that novel to my book list! πŸ™‚

  30. Vera said,

    March 10, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

    Welcome back, Y! It sounds like a perfect vacation! The cake is also quite perfect πŸ™‚

  31. noobcook said,

    March 10, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

    glad to hear you had a great holiday. What an elegant looking cake πŸ™‚

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