Instead of bottling a batch of sloe gin this year with my haul of sloe berries from the blackthorn in our garden, I decided to try something different and created sloe syrup using a recipe from Fuss Free Flavours.
It’s wonderful stuff and extremely versatile. Delicious poured over ice cream or pancakes, it is also perfect as a mixer for cocktails or adding to sparkling wine or champagne, while my daughters like it as a cordial mixed with fizzy water or lemonade.
And it also works a treat in baking, as in this variation on a lemon drizzle cake. I took a recipe for buttermilk loaf cake from the brilliant What To Bake And How To Bake It by Jane Hornby, added a few caraway seeds (I can’t get enough of these in cakes at the moment) and liberally doused the cake, while still warm from the oven, in the sweet, sticky sloe syrup. The end result is simply gorgeous and very, very moreish.
Sloe syrup drizzle cake with caraway seeds
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp caraway seeds
4 tbsp sloe syrup
1 tsp demerara sugar
Grease a loaf tin (23x12cm) with butter and line with baking paper.
Preheat oven to 180ºC / gas mark 4.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and caster sugar together until pale and creamy.
In a separate bowl or jug, beat the eggs and pour a little into the butter and sugar mixture. Beat together until the egg is well mixed in. Add a little more egg and beat again. Repeat until all the egg is beaten in. Add the vanilla and beat again.
In another bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Sift this onto the egg, butter and sugar mixture and carefully fold in with a large metal spoon or spatula. Pour in the buttermilk and fold in, and then fold in the remaining flour mixture and caraway seeds.
Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until well risen with a good crack along the middle. Turn the oven down to 160ºC / gas mark 3 for another 20 minutes or so. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for quarter of an hour, before turning out onto a cooling rack and removing the paper.
While still warm, spoon the sloe syrup over the surface of the cake and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Leave to cool completely.