Baking: Summer berries

Writing a post on summer berries couldn’t be more timely. There is nothing quite like a glut of seasonal berries to brighten up summer baking. Last night I visited my mini allotment where I grow mainly soft fruits, to find much of it ripening.  I had not been for a week and whereas last time nothing seemed to be happening, this time some of the strawberries had ripened and gone over, the blackcurrants and raspberries were ripe and ready and the red currants are not far behind. That will teach me not to do more frequent visits at this time of the year. Needless to say over the next couple of weeks I shall be very busy making jam, cordials, sorbets and of course doing some baking with these berries.

I grow mainly fruit on my allotment as its small so I have to pick carefully what to grow. Berries can be quite pricy in the shops and being city based I do not have the option of going for pick-your-own, something I used to love doing when I was young and lived in the country. Growing my own allows me to enjoy a greater variety of fruit than is available to buy and it is much cheaper. If you are lucky enough to have the space you can also grow some of the more unusual berries such as loganberries or tayberries both a cross between raspberries and blackberries or  whitecurrants which you seldom see in the shops. Whitecurrants make pretty frosted decorations as do redcurrants which are a slightly tarter berry. 

summer-berries

Tips for using summer berries

For some bakes you can  get away with using frozen fruits. If you want to freeze your own fruit, open freeze in a single layer, and once frozen you can pack into bags or freezer containers. Frozen fruits are not suitable for using as decorations on a cake, but can usually be used when baked, use from frozen..

Fresh redcurrants and whitecurrants look pretty drapped on cakes and bakes. For a pretty effect try frosting them. Dip them first into lightly beaten egg white and then in sugar. Allow to dry before using.

Most berries need little or no preparation.  Top and tail goosberries before using, hull strawberries after washing and to quickly remove redcurrants and black currants from the stem use a fork and pull down the length of the stem while holding over a bowl to catch the berries.

Baking with summer berries

Whether you grow your own, pick your own or just buy them when they are are at their most plentiful and cheapest,  berries are perfect for baking with and if you need any inspiration just take a look at these fabulous recipes.

One of my favourite bakes using summer berries is Pavlova, the combination of meringue, cream and berries is one made in heaven. Our Cherry Tree Blog makes a beautiful and simple Raspberry and Strawberry pavlova I tend to use a mixture of berries on my Recipes Made Easy Summer Berry Pavlova and I serve it with raspberry and redcurrant  coulis drizzled over it.

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For a bit of excitement in the kitchen why not make Only Crumb’s Remain strawberry baked Alaska strawberries, ice cream on a sponge base and covered with warm meringue, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Another favourite berry bake of mine is  fruit tarts with a delicious crème pâttisèrie filling topped with lots of fresh summer berries. I am surprised I haven’t shared a recipe for one my blog yet but Wild Mama-Wild Tribe has and  makes gluten free summer fruit tarts which look so pretty decorated with edible flowers. They would make a fabulous centre piece for a afternoon tea. If you need a vegan bake to serve with your berries, check out  The best vegan vanilla cake with berries on Veggie Desserts. Eats Amazing, makes simple jam tarts but adds extra strawberries to her extra fruity jam tarts, what a simple but great idea.

For more down to earth but still delicious bakes The Foodie Quine uses fresh Scottish Strawberries in her most divine looking Strawberry, Almond and Chocolate Muffins. Something Sweet Something Savoury makes strawberry and white chocolate muffin. These would make an amazing breakfast treat or you could slip them into a packed lunch or picnic basket.  Tin and Thyme make these pretty little Strawberry Cream cakes for a picnic treat. These raspberry oat slices from Casa Costello would make a delicious afternoon treat as would these summer fruit flapjacks from Charlottes Lively Kitchen.

Mummy be Beautiful makes a rather special Victoria sponge, her Strawberry Victoria Sponge is  filled with strawberry jam, fresh cream and topped with cream and strawberries. Someones mum bakes the raspberries into her Luxurious raspberry and white chocolate Skyr cake. For another fabulous cake with the berry goodness baked in try this summer fruits and almond tray bake from the mini mes and me. I have often added summer berries to my banana bread (I love banana bread) but not quite in the same way as Family Friends Food does. For her fresh strawberry banana loaf cake she blends strawberries into some of the batter and then layers the two batters into the tin resulting in a loaf with a pretty pink wave through it.

Looking for a healthy berry bake try these Blueberry banana buckwheat bars (try saying that quickly) from Sneaky Veg or these beetroot and blackcurrant vegan energy bars  from The Veg Space which have a striking red coloured base and a lovely seedy topping.

Recipes from a Pantry makes a pretty lemon blueberry cake with blueberry glaze Did I mention my blueberries are almost ripe too. Although I if I don’t eat mine straight off the bush I may just have to make this French toast casserole with blueberries from Everyday Healthy Recipes for a really decadent breakfast.

For a simple easy family cake you could try this Easy Strawberry Yogurt Cake from Jo’s Kitchen Larder or for a high fibre cake my own Recipes Made Easy High Fibre Raspberry Yogurt Cake or for a cake with real wow factor take a look at this Easy Strawberry Cake from Kate on thin ice

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With Wimbledon just around the corner you might like to make one of these two cakes made with Pimms. The Pimms Cake from the Baking Explorer or a Pimms Roulade from or Sew White both look absolutely delicious and perfect summer cakes. For a classic strawberry and cream bake you could make these Strawberry Shortcakes from Baking with Granny.

From all these lovely bakes it’s quite clear that bloggers like baking with summer berries almost as much as I do. But when it comes to writing about strawberries I automatically type the r and the a in the wrong order which means a lot of correcting the spelling and  it drives me nuts! Am I the only one that types certain words wrong 9 times out of 10? 

If you have an area of baking you would like me to discuss in more depth on this blog, please give me a shout. Do you have a baking problem that needs tips? Or Is there a style/type of baking that you would just  like more information/know how?  Do drop me a line and I shall try to help in future posts.  Alternatively if you have some great baking tips that you are happy to pass on to others, again do drop me a line. Just add BritMums Baking in your email subject.

Happy Baking!

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About Jacqueline Bellefontaine

Jacqueline has been a cookery writer and food stylist for over 20 years and is a member of the Guild of Food Writers. She is the author of 18 cookbooks and now writes her own blog, where she shares the recipes she cooks at home for family, friends and fun. Jacqueline started her food writing career on a weekly magazine and as a result, likes to champion good basic home cooking. The daughter of a master baker she is passionate about home baking and is happiest in the kitchen knocking up a cake or baking a loaf of bread. Jacqueline has two grown sons and lives with her husband in Central London.