Blackberries were just in their peak season, so in short, Batsu simply couldn’t resist buying them by the kilo! Thankfully, they were only 500 yen per kilo, and even better yet, they are one of the key players in this Victorian Era dessert.
After web crawling for a few hours, this was more or less the staple recipe that I kept coming across: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/blackberry-cornmeal-cake. This Martha Stewart version certainly has a few American Southern-style touches, such as the cast iron skillet, but it looks pretty and the ingredients are simple. It also features a lot of berries, which was sure to assist in my predicament.
Let me confess now that I do not have a cake pan (?!), let alone a cast iron skillet. For many years, I’ve used my rice cooker for this job, and a fine job it has done. Of course, the top of the cake will not brown, but it bakes well and is quite aesthetically pleasing. The inner bowl is very easy to clean and non-stick to boot; I highly recommend using your rice cooker for cakes as well if you are fortunate enough to have one.
However, your recipes will have to be slightly modified to accommodate. Consider the volume of batter appropriate for the machine, and adjust the cook time as necessary. For this cake, instead of warming up the pan in the oven as directed in the recipe, I pressed “start” while arranging the other ingredients, and by the time my batter was ready the inner bowl was nice and hot.
This was the first cake:
Again, I don’t know who got ahold of the camera, but you don’t need to see me and my living room to enjoy looking at the beautiful cake. Hence, as with the lemon meringue pie, I decided to make it again. There were some other issues as well, such as the sinking berries that needed remedy, so why not?
The second cake:
It looks and tastes so much better! I let the batter cook about 10 minutes before lightly sprinkling with blackberries this time and it tuned out beautifully. It seems the garnish has been neglected yet again, but this cake still needs one more revision (baking powder instead of soda) before reaching perfection… Or wait, make that two…
When obtaining this screen capture I realized that in the upper left hand corner there is some small writing that reads “洋梨,” that is, “pear.” This should actually be Pear and Blackberry Cornmeal Cake… Oh, dear…
At least the left over berries went to good use, and I can use the remaining syrup to adorn the plated dessert next time as well.