How to make a blackcurrant and quark cake to make the most of this succulent summer berry

Our kitchen garden cook Melanie Johnson shares a mouthwatering blackcurrant cake recipe.

Finding blackcurrants in Britain would be a lot easier if it weren’t for one thing: a certain hugely popular fruit squash. According to its makers, 90% of the UK’s blackcurrants go in to Ribena, a quite amazing statistic.

Melanie Johnson highly recommends trying to snag some of the remaining 10%: ‘Small, tart and often overlooked, blackcurrants are perfect for summer puddings,’ she says.

And if after making the cake below you want to try and beat Ribena at its own game, Melanie has a recipe for blackcurrant cordial too: simmer one kilo of blackcurrants with 500ml of water and 500g of caster sugar until the blackcurrants have burst and the liquid is syrupy. Pass through a muslin cloth and store in sterilised bottles; when you’re ready to serve, pour an inch into the bottom of glasses, pour over sparkling water and decorate with a fragrant sprig of rosemary.

Recipe: Blackcurrant and quark cake with streusel

Ingredients

For the cake batter

  • 180g unsalted butter, softened
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 1tspn vanilla-bean paste
  • 3 eggs
  • 180g self-raising flour
  • A pinch of salt

For the quark topping

  • 300g quark
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1tspn vanilla-bean paste
  • 250g blackcurrants

For the streusel topping

  • 150g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • A pinch of salt

Method

Preheat your oven to 160˚C fan/180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4. Line a 20cm (8in) cake tin with baking parchment.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix again until even. Pour over the flour, add the salt and fold them in until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared tin.

Make the quark topping by simply mixing together the quark, icing sugar, egg yolks and vanilla. Spoon this gently on top of the cake batter and scatter over the blackcurrants.

To make the streusel topping, rub together—using your fingertips—the flour, sugar, butter and salt until you have coarse lumps. Gently scatter these over the top of the cake.

Bake the cake for 45–50 minutes or until the top is golden and a skewer comes out clean.

Serve warm in generous slices with a dollop of whipped cream on the side.