Pursha and Cucumber Cake: an #EatSussex experiment

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August may be the perfect month for summer fruit (have you tried gorgeous sweet August cherries  or tart summer plums?), but sometimes you really just need a little indulgence. And, while we’ve been baking bread, cooking up stews, and experimenting with plenty of savory foods, we haven’t cooked up any #eatsussex desserts…

…until now!

Muir whipped up this pursha and cucumber cake using only Sussex grown and sourced ingredients (#EatSussex adapted from a Veggie Desserts recipe). Which means – no sugar! Our Sussex sweetener of choice? Local, raw runny honey from Blackman Bee Farm.

This cake was delicious – though definitely far from a conventional cake in regards to flavour, texture, and, well, everything. Made with a robust and fruity tasting wholemeal flour, it didn’t exactly form the airy base of a Victoria sponge. With plenty of honey to sweeten, the result was more a dense, buttery ‘honey-bread’ with citrus notes than conventional cake (which still sounds pretty good to me).

Recipe

1 medium cucumber
A handful of pursha (or use an unwaxed lemon)
200g wholemeal flour
2 eggs
150g butter
150g honey
A pinch of baking powder

For the glaze
2 tablespoons of Gin
2.5 tablespoons of raw honey
(we recommend using lemon juice, but we did’t have any Sussex grown lemons!)

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Lightly grease a 9 inch round cake tin.

In a food processor, blitz the cucumber and whole purshas/lemon. Add in the butter, eggs and honey and process to combine. Next, to the wet ingredients, add in the baking powder and flour and thoroughly blend until a smooth cake batter in formed (Yes, it’s that easy!).

Pour the batter into the cake tine and bake in the oven for 30 minutes/until golden brown. Allow to cool and remove from the tin.

For the glaze, whisk together honey and gin/lemon juice to form a liquid.  Pour over the cooled cake  – and enjoy!

cake.pngMuir enjoying a slice of cake.

What did we learn about making #EatSussex cakes?

It’s not so easy! Without sugar and white flour, a traditional fluffy, sweet cake is off the table. But still, we loved this wholesome alternative. Next time, we might even make a vegan version (as soon as we get those apples in for apple sauce…) In the meantime, though, it might be easier to stick to easy summer crumbles and Sussex yogurt with honey and berries…

Do you have any #EatSussex dessert ideas? We love cooking up gorgeous produce and using Sussex-sourced ingredients, so if you have some favourites or baking inspiration – let us know in the comments!

PURIngredients for baking.

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Pursha and Cucumber Cake: an #EatSussex experiment

Leftover Light Apple Fruit Cake

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A leftover apple cake that is lighter than traditional fruit cakes – would make a perfect Simnel cake.

I was browsing ways of using up a couple of our Ringden Farm Egremont Russets and Jonagold apples that were a little past their prime and thought I’d make a cake for a friend coming over for supper.  Cake recipes are generally heavy on refined sugar one way or another so we thought the best balance is probably to incorporate more fruit and eat a delicious cake in smaller slices, using the best ingredients possible.

This cake is pretty much a lighter version of a fruit cake, but you could swap leftover ingredients or use whatever dried fruit you have in the cupboard.  It would work equally well with cranberries, cherries or pears.

It’s a nice grown-up kind of cake as well, that would work equally well with afternoon tea or as a delicious Easter Simnel Cake.

One thing is that we don’t eat cake every day – but when we do, it has to taste bloody good. We came across this cake on the BBC site, which with a bit of tweaking became the cake below and it’s one we’ve added to our little black book of cakes to repeat.

The comments on the BBC site said their cake was a little crumbly, so we upped the apple content to give it some moisture (worked brilliantly) and to counterbalance the fat.

It’s a little heavy on the butter side, but we only use Sussex Southdowns butter and this is our small indulgence (Southdowns is a traditionally-made butter that goes off if you don’t use it, unlike most commercial butters which must be irradiated or something…).

We have pinned this recipe in our December notes as it would make a fantastic lighter Christmas cake if you include homemade glacé cherries and nuts.  On the subject of which, if you’re foraging around at the back of the cupboard, then we found the remains of a bottle of Cointreau from the Christmas cocktails and soaked the dried fruit beforehand.

Nick is most definitely not a fruit cake fan, but he liked this as it has a lighter texture and is more moist and plump than a traditional fruit cake without the heavy leaden lining on your stomach afterwards!

Apple Fruit Cake

Ingredients

  • 150g dark muscovado sugar
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened plus extra for greasing
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 large tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 200g spelt flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 good size eating apples , grated (approx 120g each)
  • 300g mixed sultanas and raisins
  • A drizzle of Cointreau or brandy
  1. Put the dried fruit in a dish and drizzle over the liqueur.  Leave to absorb for a couple of hours.
  2. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
  3. Butter and line the bottom of a deep, round 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper. Beat the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl (electric hand- beaters are best for this), until pale and thick. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in the fruit until evenly combined.
  4. Spoon the batter into the tin and bake for 50 mins-1 hr or until the cake is dark golden, springy to the touch and has shrunk away from the tin slightly. A skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean when it’s ready.
Leftover Light Apple Fruit Cake