Readers of this blog will know the by now legendary challenge I have to get enough fruit and veg into the kids. Caitlin has always been reasonably good but Ieuan is proving more stubborn.
Parents will be familiar with the general boredom that sets in when you have to listen to your own, largely ignored lectures about the health benefits of vitamins and minerals on repeat, whilst the kids languidly prod whichever gadget is in reach.
So it is time to explore a new and sneaky way to get veg into them – and happily, the bakers at Blackberry Cottage have a cunning plan.
As they explain, vegetables in cakes have been around for hundreds of years – everyone has heard of carrot cake – but they have designed a whole range of vegetable cakes and tray bakes, as well as a delectable selection of Christmas puddings.
Their cakes have vegetables as the biggest ingredient which allows them to reduce refined sugars and fats. They also use alternative flours such as rice and gram as well as the more traditional ones.
Based in Berkshire, the team bake every day in their artisan kitchen. Blackberry Cottage cakes are hand baked in small batches using home grown or locally sourced supplies – and using eggs from their own chickens.
We were sent a Tea Time Cake Selection to try containing 5 delicious cake portions:-
- Chocolate Sponge with Butternut Squash
- Apricot & Almond with Carrot
- Chocolate Brownie with Sweet Potato
- Fruit Loaf with Parsnip & Lemon Icing
- Carrot Cake with Vanilla Frosting
We found all of them lovely and moist without being overly sweet. Whilst you can see the vegetables in the cakes, they are not the over-riding taste. This is brilliant because if you didn’t tell your kids what they were eating, I doubt they’d realise they were eating veg!
My favourite was the Chocolate Sponge with Butternut Squash whilst the Husband liked the delicate taste of the Fruit Loaf with Parsnip & Lemon Icing. Caitlin and Ieuan both chose the Chocolate Brownie with Sweet Potato as their favourite.
Enthused with this new method of eating vegetables, Ieuan announced he was now going to eat a Blackberry Cottage brownie every day.
Cakes need to be stored in a cool dry place and you can freeze them too.
We were also sent a Blackberry Cottage Round Christmas Pudding to try. There are four to choose from:-
- Gluten, Dairy, Nut, Egg Free & No Added Refined Sugar (suitable for Vegans)
- Delicious Moist Pudding full of Rum Cask Cider Soaked Fruit (suitable for Vegetarians)
- Traditional Old Recipe with Ale & Carrots (suitable for Vegetarians)
- Delicious Moist Pudding full of Stout Soaked Fruit (suitable for Vegetarians)
Ours was the one full of Rum Cask Cider Soaked Fruit and it was a dense, rich pudding full of spices and surprises such as figs. The kids wolfed theirs down with Caitlin opting for her usual 3 pints of custard.
Although you can steam the pudding (100 minutes), it also microwaves nicely in 3 minutes so that’s what we did and it worked fine.
The cider used in our pudding comes from a local cider maker in West Berkshire using a variety of eating, cooking and crab apples which have been fermented and matured in oak rum barrels.
The pudding we were sent was the 450g size which serves 4 comfortably but there is also a 900g which serves 8 and larger sizes are available.
Our pudding came wrapped in muslin and finished with a pretty ribbon so would make a great gift too. I’m not the only one who would eat Christmas pudding after Christmas, surely?!
If you would like to learn how to incorporate vegetables in cakes, you can even attend one of Blackberry Cottage’s courses or demonstrations.
I have to confess I’m not the only one to discover Blackberry Cottage. They have been featured in Vogue, The Daily Mail, Landlove Magazine, The Daily Telegraph and Healthy Diet Magazine, among others.
You can find out more at www.blackberrycottagefayre.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Would you like to try vegetables in cakes – you’ll never know, I promise!