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Bite Of Minnesota: Custard Tea Cake With Raspberries

Being involved in the food community, there is always an opportunity to get inspired, try new ingredients, and share food with others. I'm lucky to be surrounded by like-minded people in my work and in my personal life where food and sharing takes center stage. Last year, my friends and I started a cooking club which we dubbed Nosh Night. We are let loose in the host's kitchen to create dishes that fit a pre-determined theme and usually leave rubbing our protruding bellies promising to eat less next time.

As the next Nosh Night approached, I struggled to decide on what I should make that fit an "Afternoon Tea" theme and all the usual ideas were taken: tea, scones, canapés, crostini, quiche, and finger sandwiches. Since we needed something a little sweet, I honed in on a tea cake that had a custard layer within the cake. Inspired by this recipe, I got to work mixing, measuring, and baking until voila, the cake was perfect.

A word of caution about the batter -- it's quite thick and you'll need to use a spatula to spread it out, but the extra effort is worth it. I used raspberries in this version, but feel free to use your favorite berries. Strawberries, blueberries, or even drained crushed pineapple will work well. The recipe also calls for custard powder which is a British product that I found at Lunds in the baking aisle.

Custard Tea Cake With Raspberries
(credit: Crystal Grobe)

Custard Tea Cake with Raspberries
Adapted from Eat Little Bird

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup superfine sugar (not powdered sugar)
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup custard powder
1 pint fresh raspberries, halved
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp granulated sugar

For custard:
2 tbsp custard powder
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 cup milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the custard, whisk together custard powder and superfine sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk in the milk and bring mixture to a low boil until thickened, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla extract. Stir to combine and place a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, blend butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time and gradually add flour, baking powder, and custard powder until combined. Spread 1/3 of the batter in the bottom of the springform pan, using a spatula (or your hands) to spread. Spread the custard mixture on top of the batter and drop spoonfuls of the remaining batter on top of the custard. Press the berries lightly into the top of the cake and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake for approximately 1 hour or until cake is golden brown and set. Let cool completely before serving.

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