We love walking our dog, Dennis, and where we live we are lucky enough to have lots of fresh brambles growing. So come autumn we take a bag with us on walks and collect brambles. (We don’t pick the ones that are close to the ground!) Adding them whole to this loaf means you get a burst of blackberry juice when you take a bite – tart but sweet perfection.
115g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
115g unsalted butter, softened
165g golden caster sugar
2 medium eggs
1 tsp fresh lemon thyme leaves
about 50g icing sugar
shreds of lemon zest
fresh lemon thyme sprigs
● Preheat the oven to 160C fan (180C/350F/Gas Mark 4). Grease a 450g (1lb) loaf tin and line with greaseproof paper.
● Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add the soft butter and 115g of the caster sugar, along with the eggs. Grate the zest from two of the lemons into the bowl. Squeeze the juice from half of the third lemon and add along with the lemon thyme leaves. Beat with an electric mixer just until smooth and light (take care not to over mix). Fold in the blackberries.
● Pour the mixture into the tin. Bake for 45–50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean (avoid skewering a blackberry). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly while you make the syrup.
● Squeeze the juice from the two lemons you zested and pour into a small saucepan. Add the remaining 50g caster sugar. Set over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved to make a syrup. Turn the heat up slightly and let the syrup bubble away for a couple of minutes.
● Using a skewer, poke holes all over the top of the still-warm cake, then slowly pour the lemon syrup all over the surface so it penetrates right through the sponge. Leave to cool fully.
● Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon half into a small bowl and stir in enough icing sugar to make a smooth, runny icing. Once the loaf is cold, drizzle over the icing and top with fresh blackberries, shreds of lemon zest and tiny picked sprigs of lemon thyme.