Autumnal blackberry-pear cake


Autumn is when Edinburgh is at its best. As the festival crowd disappears the city breathes a sigh of relief. And the trees sigh with us, letting go of their leaves which come to rest, tanned and crisp, underfoot. The tumultuous summer weather gives way to beautifully bright and calm September days. Days perfect for scrambling about picking blackberries, which are in season now. Blackford Hill is an Edinburgh hotspot for the little black jewels. Aside from endless bushes of the stuff the hill offers spectacular views of the city – as breathtaking as the panoramic view from Arthur’s seat, but without the tourists – need I say more?

After months of living in a flat with no functioning oven I’m delighted to be able to go ba(r)king mad at my new place. And, even more importantly, my new flatmates enjoy homemade cakes as much as I do. So, to celebrate my new abode and the coming of autumn, I made this spiced fruit laden cake. The result? Couldn’t be happier! Sophisticated but simple, flavourful but infinitely light, this will go with any occasion. However it is important that the pears are very ripe, as the juices help to keep the sponge deliciously moist. Alternatively you can use tinned pears.


Serves 6-8:
100 g blackberries
2 ripe pears
100 g sugar + 2 tablespoons
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
100 g soft butter
100 g plain flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
25 g flaked almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

2. Cream the sugar and butter, then add the eggs one at a time, and stir until you have a thick and cohesive batter.

3. In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder, and stir into the cake batter. Pour into a lined 6-inch baking tray.

4. Peel the pears and slice them thinly. Arrange on top of the cake – with your fingers, gently press them halfway through the batter. Arrange blackberries on top of the batter and sprinkle with a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Finally, sprinkle with almond flakes.

5. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Adapted from a recipe from

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