Red Currant and Chia Seed Cake
So I think I’m, like, a whole decade behind, but I’ve recently started watching the series, Lost (and I’m hooked). Umm, the decision was also kind of by-design. I like to power-watch shows because I hate waiting. I’m an “instant gratification” type of gal!
Since I am currently on maternity leave, I think it’s the perfect time to catch up on my ever growing list of shows to watch and books to read. So if I go M.I.A. on my blog, you can bet that I have my eyes glued on a band of castaways in a spooky island, or I have my nose buried in a scrumptious cookbook (or food blog).
Sometimes, when I am watching a really good show or viewing a wonderful blog, I tend to snack. Some days I go for savoury; on others, sweet. Lately, I’ve been craving for something sweet but with a hint of tartness. I felt like I scored the other day when I found these beautiful red currants at my local farmers’ market. How can I resist a fruit that looks like Christmas lights?
Without even the slightest clue on what to do with these cute little light bulb fruits, I grabbed a pint anyway. When I got home, I tucked into mission mode to find a recipe that might use red currants: I rummaged through my cookbooks and I trolled the internet for something classic and easy to bake. In the end, the internet won – I found a wonderful recipe at one of my favourite blogs, Cannelle et Vanille.
I followed Aran’s recipe almost to a T. Almost. I did exchange the poppy seeds for a more nutrient-dense chia seeds, which I happen to have on-hand at home. Same taste; more nutritional value from the omega’s the chia seeds provide. And I also added a lemon glaze, for a glossy finish.
Fortunately, the loaf cake turned out dense and moist (thanks to the buttermilk) with a soft lemon-y taste (thanks to the lemon zest) that doesn’t overwhelm. Red currants are quite tart to eat by themselves, so unless you like that kind of thing, they’re better off left for making into jams or baking a cake. Surprisingly, when red currants are baked in a lemon-vanilla-buttermilk-based loaf like this one, their razor-sharp acerbity is toned down.
One quick tip when baking fruits into cakes: toss them in flour before gently folding in to the batter. The flour will prevent the fruits from sinking to the bottom! It really does help!
I won’t dillydally any longer…get your spatulas ready for this wonderful recipe! After all, I have a picnic to go to with the kids, and loaf cake is on the menu!
- 170 grams (1½ sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 250 grams (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
- 5 grams (1 teaspoon) pure vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lemon, preferable unwaxed or organic
- 2 large eggs
- 180 grams (1½ cups) all-purpose flour
- 4 grams (3/4 teaspoon) baking powder
- 3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) salt
- 180 ml (3/4 cup) buttermilk
- 7 grams (1½ teaspoons) chia seeds
- 100 grams fresh red currants
- ~~ For the glaze ~~
- 85 grams (3/4 cup) confectioners' sugar
- 2½ tablespoons lemon juice
- handful of chia seeds for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease and flour three mini loaf pans or one standard sized pans.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light.
- Add vanilla extract and lemon zest. Add eggs one at a time and mix just until incorporated.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined.
- Add buttermilk and mix gently.
- Fold in lightly the chia seeds, followed by the currants. Do not overmix.
- Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden. Cool in pan for a few minutes before turning out on the rack to cool completely.
- Prepare you glaze by whisking the sugar and sugar together until combined and becomes thick.
- Pour glaze on top of the loaf / loaves. Or pour glaze in a squeeze bottle with a small nozzle and drizzle on top the the cake. Sprinkle more chia seeds on top.
- Serve immediately or store cake in an airtight container for up to 3 days.