Loaded with ripe fruit, this moist cake is a cross between two classic English desserts: sponge cake and summer pudding.
- 3⁄4 cup softened unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
- 1 1⁄2 lb. fresh blackberries (about 6 cups)
- 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 3 granny smith apples, cored, peeled, and quartered
- 1⁄3 cup apple brandy, such as calvados
- 2 1⁄2 cups cake flour
- 2 1⁄4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 tsp. fine salt
- 3⁄4 cup milk
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. superfine sugar
- 4 eggs
- Crème fraîche, for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9" springform pan with butter. Line bottom of pan with a parchment paper circle; grease paper. Wrap outside of pan with foil to prevent drips; set aside. In a small bowl, toss 2 cups blackberries with brown sugar; set aside to let macerate.
Meanwhile, cut each apple quarter into ⅛" slices; toss with apple brandy in a bowl; set aside. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl; set aside. In another bowl, stir together milk, vanilla, and lemon zest; set aside. Using a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 15 seconds after each addition. Reduce mixer speed to low. Alternately add flour and milk mixtures in thirds, beginning and ending with flour, until just incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and gently fold in the apple–calvados mixture.
Transfer batter to the prepared pan; spread evenly. Scatter remaining blackberries over top of batter. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes; unmold, then cool completely. Mash macerated blackberries through a sieve into a bowl; discard seeds. Serve cake slices drizzled with the blackberry juice and dollops of crème fraîche (if using).
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