This Earl Grey Blackberry Chiffon Cake came about after I went for a long walk the other day and ended up picking these wonderful wild blackberries:
I was so surprised to see how tiny they were compared to the massive blackberries you can buy in the supermarket. It makes you wonder what sorts of chemicals etc. they must be using to make them grow that big!
Anyway, I was really excited to use them in my baking, and got thinking about what flavour combinations I could use.
‘Blackberry’ is actually a pretty versatile flavour – if you think about all the things it gets paired with – apple and blackberry for pies, blackberry and balsamic vinegar in sauces, blackberry and elderflower in fizzy drinks, blackberry and ginger in tea…the list goes on.
I decided to make an earl grey tea-flavoured sponge cake with a blackberry-flavoured frosting.
The sponge had to be a chiffon cake, as I’m pretty obsessed with this type of sponge cake at the moment. Unfortunately I haven’t found a way to make it vegan (yet), but this cake is just too delicious for me to keep to myself, so I just had to share the recipe for it.
Chiffon cake originally comes from France, but it’s very popular in Japan, and I actually adapted a Japanese recipe for this post. Chiffon cake is very similar to angel food cake, which originated from the United States in the 19th century.
Light and fluffy but also surprisingly rich despite being naturally dairy-free and only requiring a tiny splash of oil, chiffon cake is by far my favourite type of sponge. Although it’s usually made with quite a lot of refined sugar, I didn’t want to use any, so I used coconut sugar instead and it worked perfectly!
I’ve been experimenting with all sorts of flavours of chiffon cake (and have thoroughly enjoyed ‘cleaning up’ these trial versions), from matcha green tea to black sesame, chocolate, coffee, and this particular earl grey-flavoured one.
The effortlessly sophisticated aroma of earl grey pairs beautifully with the tartness of the blackberries, which is offset perfectly by the creamy coconut yogurt. Although in Japan, chiffon cake is eaten by itself, I realised (after all my baking and eating of it), that it tasted much better eaten with some sort of cream, and so decided to pair it with some coconut yogurt.
My favourite coconut yogurt to use is this one by Coyo, as it’s the most rich and creamy coconut yogurt I’ve tried. I like to use the vanilla one for cakes such as these as it further compliments the other flavours in this cake.
Chiffon cakes are usually baked in a ring shape, which you can do if you have a chiffon cake tin. This isn’t actually a requirement, however, so you can use any round-shaped metal or ceramic baking tin you wish.
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 3 eggs
- 50g coconut sugar
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 tablespoons water
- 3 earl grey tea bags
- 75g cake flour (or measure out 75g plain flour and take away 3 teaspoons of the flour and substitute with 3 teaspoons cornflour)
- 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
- 100g blackberries
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or sub any other sweetener of choice), to taste
- 100g coconut yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees
- Use a small saucepan to bring the 6 tablespoons of water to the boil
- Pour the boiling water into a mug and add 3 teabags
- Set aside and leave the teabags in the water for at least 10 minutes before taking them out
- Crack the eggs and separate out the yolks and whites into two separate (large) bowls
- Add 1/3 of the sugar to the yolks, along with the vegetable oil and tea-infused water
- Sift the cake flour and baking powder into this egg yolk mixture
- Use an electric whisk (or hand whisk and a lot of elbow grease!) to beat the egg whites
- Add the remaining sugar to the egg whites a little at a time as you beat them until you see stiff white peaks
- Using the same electric whisk, beat together the egg yolk and flour mixture until well mixed, but be careful not to over-beat
- Use a metal spoon (and not a wooden one) to very carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk mixture 1/3 at a time - you have to mix the beaten egg whites in well, but make sure that you still keep all the air in
- Transfer this batter into a round baking dish (you can use a chiffon cake tin if you have one) - just make sure that the dish is not greased or lined with baking parchment as this will affect how the cake rises in the oven
- Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean
- Meanwhile, make the blackberry frosting - add the blackberries to a saucepan and cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, until blackberries are very soft and have lost their shape
- Use a spoon to pass the cooked blackberries through a tea strainer or sieve to remove the seeds
- Stir in the sugar to taste
- Place the coconut yogurt in a bowl and dot the blackberry sauce over the yogurt using a spoon. Then use a knife, chopstick or skewer to create a pretty marble effect
- When the cake is done, take it out of the oven, remove it from its baking tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool
- Once the cake has cooled completely, spoon the frosting carefully on the top and spread across
- If you don't need the frosting to be dairy-free, you can use marscapone, crème fraîche or thick Greek yogurt instead of coconut yogurt