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January 22, 2013

out of feathers, out of bones | redcurrant tea cake

How could I resist these beauties at the farmers market this weekend? Redcurrants are not too commonly seen these days - something to do with being difficult to pick and not as popular to eat as other berries. At least, that's what the grower told me when I purchased them. They are quite delicious although I can see why they are not so popular - they are not very sweet and contain quite a few seeds. But gosh, they're gorgeous. 

I made a simple tea cake with these, taking a recipe for a plain cake and altering it a little, reducing the sugar and butter. 

redcurrant & lemon tea cake

120g butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar - I used rapadura but any sugar would be good. This recipe is one where it is worth using an unrefined sugar for a more complex flavour if you have it, but if you don't the outcome will still be delicious!
200g redcurrants, picked from the stems. I tried to choose less squishy ones. This is quite time consuming as they usually come in bunches, but it's worth it. If you don't have redcurrants, any other summer berry would do - but especially blueberries or blackcurrants. 
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
150 mL milk (about 2/3 cup)

juice of two lemons
demerara sugar (or just plain crystally sugar) for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 170ºC/350ºF. Gently soften the butter (I usually do this in the oven as it's heating up but you must keep a close eye on it!). Add the sugar and beat with a wooden spoon or electric beater until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each one. Sprinkle some of the flour over the redcurrants and shake so that the redcurrants get coated in a fine layer of flour. This is supposed to help prevent them from sinking to the bottom during cooking. Add the rest of the flour and milk, alternating between each, to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. It will be a wet mixture but not runny - adjust the amounts accordingly. Lastly, add the redcurrants and gently fold them through, trying not to squish them too much. 

Put mixture in either a lined, greased ring tin or two small loaf tins. I made two small ones as they are more easily given away like that! Bake for 30 minutes for the two small tins, or 40 minutes for a ring tin. Depending on your oven it may take a bit more/less time. If they look like they are getting brown on top but still appear liquidy, your oven is too hot. They will crack a little on top and a skewer pushed into them will be clean when they are ready.

As soon as they come out of the oven, pour the lemon juice over them. It might seem like a lot of liquid but this will prevent the cakes from drying out too much. Sprinkle the sugar over the top too. Eat warm, if you can, but it keeps reasonably well too. I guarantee it won't last long though! 

If you like, you could add a small amount of icing sugar to the lemon juice and drizzle this over the top instead of sprinkling sugar - I think both ways would be delicious! 

I still had enough redcurrants left over for a redcurrant and raspberry jam which is currently halfway through production.. stay tuned! 


I know that I said it'd be broad bean recipes next time and instead, we have redcurrants .. but J made a delicious broad bean dip over the weekend so you might see some of that next time as we still have an abundance in the garden. 


title from of monsters and men - your bones



  1. I don't think I've ever seen, let alone ever heard of a redcurrant... but it looks delicious and I've been meaning to make up a tea cake for a morning snack! Hmm, I wonder if I can find these in my area?

  2. I once picked red currants at a PYO farm in England and then made a redcurrant and some other berry jam. Absolutely delicious. I used it to perk up gravies and sauces. x

  3. Wow, those are gorgeous and the tea cake sounds delicious. I don't think I've ever seen redcurrants at the market, but if I ever do I'll be sure to snap them up.

    xox Lilly

  4. Yum, that cake looks good. I imagine it's full of fresh, zingy flavours. I love the bright colour of the berries too.

    Gillian x

  5. Yum! Sounds absolutely delicious my mouth is watering!

  6. Wow what a beautiful blog and great post. I love it here xx

  7. oh your photos are so spectacular, love the angle on the cake. xx