Red Currant and Chia Seed Cake

by Jen on July 14, 2012

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!


5.0 from 6 reviews
Red Currant and Chia Seed Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 mini loaves or 1 standard loaf
 
Based on a recipe found in Cannelle et Vanille blog, with the poppy seeds substituted with chia seeds.
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease and flour three mini loaf pans or one standard sized pans.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light.
  3. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest. Add eggs one at a time and mix just until incorporated.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined.
  5. Add buttermilk and mix gently.
  6. Fold in lightly the chia seeds, followed by the currants. Do not overmix.
  7. 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.
  8. Prepare you glaze by whisking the sugar and sugar together until combined and becomes thick.
  9. 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.
  10. Serve immediately or store cake in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Notes
*Good idea: For fun, the kids and I used cookie cutters to punch round cakes out of the loaf. Afterwards, you can place them in a mason jar to serve or to keep. Of course, don't forget to eat the scraps!

 

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Priscilla @ShesCookin July 14, 2012 at 2:53 am

I’ve only used dried currants, but the fresh ones do look like Christmas lights. This citrusy cake would be lovely with a cuppa and I have Chia seeds, too – so good for you! Enjoy Lost – I loved how it slowly reveals bits of each person’s past and keeps you surprised, and often confused :)

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Patty July 14, 2012 at 10:20 am

Oh I like this recipe and your photos, a lovely picnic theme to show off your cake;-) I’ve never tried chia seeds but it’s good to know that can be subbed in for poppy seeds, that makes sense! Hope you’re enjoying your weekend;-)
Don’t know why but never got hooked on Lost, maybe because it mainly just confused me when I tried to tune in!

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Rowena @ Apron and Sneakers July 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Can you hear my sighing? Your pictures really have that effect! I love the pictures and the recipe as always. I never used chia seeds and sooner or later, I think I need to try it too. Enjoy your movie marathon.

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Lisa (AuthenticSuburbanGourmet) July 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

What lovely photos! I am facinated by those little red delights. This cake sounds amazing!!! I too have my TV favorites that I can’t miss – it just helps to relax . Hope you are having a great Saturday!!

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Suzanne July 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Oh these are so pretty, I haven’t had fresh ones but they look so inviting. Your bread/cake sounds looks delicious especially with that glaze.

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Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I love a glossy lemon glaze! What a pretty cake and the red currants glisten like jewels – love!

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Ally @ A Girl and Her Fork July 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm

“Without even the slightest clue on what to do with these cute little light bulb fruits, I grabbed a pint anyway. “– That sounds just like me! I often see new or unsual fruits and veggies at the farmers’ market, Asian grocery store or Mexican mart and just buy them figuring that I’ll decide what to make from it later. It turns out to be such an adventure…sometimes good, sometimes bad. :)

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Sandra's Easy Cooking July 14, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Haha…I watched first season of Lost and become too much:)) however i easily get hooked especially if there are Kdramas… too addictive!:)
I would love to snack on your beautiful cake..look wonderful, and so delicious! You made some gorgeous pics, Jen!

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MizzJ July 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Lovely photos! That loaf looks delish. Could you make it without currants, or with other berries?

Hehe I ate a tartine for the first time today and it made me think of your blog :)

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Nami | Just One Cookbook July 15, 2012 at 3:11 am

So so so soooo pretty! I assume your home must look like your pictures because you know how to use colors so perfectly! :D I’ve never had currant (I think) or chia seed. I’d love to have a piece of this cake and watch the TV show with you! Well, but I gave up on Lost (it was too intense for me!). I did the Mad Men marathon and I was completely lack of sleep!

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Jean | Lemons and Anchovies July 15, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Such pretty pictures to go with a tempting cake. I am the same way with TV shows. I hardly ever watch TV but when I latch on to a series it’s usually when it’s old new to the rest of the world but I love being able to go through all the seasons in one pop.

Hope you’re having a great weekend, Jen!

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Riley July 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm

They do look like Christmas lights, don’t they? The cake is beautiful and looks delicious!

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Choc Chip Uru July 15, 2012 at 7:31 pm

This cake looks gorgeous my friend, I love the beautiful red currants in it – so flavoursome :D

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

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joey July 15, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Lovely lovely photos as usual Jen! This cake looks absolutely delicious! Enjoy your picnic!

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella July 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Hehe I still haven’t seen Lost! And you style things so beautifully Jen! I love the pretty, patterned dress! :D

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Marina@ Picnic at Marina July 15, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Hi Jen! Thanks for visiting my blog. I deeply apreciate your kind comment. Your cake looks lovely, red currants are one of my favorite berries, which I haven’t had in more than two years! :)

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Jennifer @ Delicieux July 15, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Your cakes are so pretty!!! I love your beautiful styling, so colourful and happy. I haven’t seen Lost yet, but I like to power watch shows too, for the same reason, I’m impatient. I’ve recently done that with the first 4 seasons of Mad Men and have just started season 5.

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Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious July 16, 2012 at 1:51 am

What a unique cake! I’ve never tried red currant but I’m super excited to try it out!

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Raymund July 16, 2012 at 4:01 am

I am always amazed by your use of ingredients that are mostly I haven’t tried. I hope I can find those ones here otherwise I will just dream about making them

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kristy @ the wicked noodle July 16, 2012 at 8:24 am

I am so in awe of your food photography. It’s just gorgeous. The cake sounds delish, too!

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Roxana GreenGirl { A little bit of everything} July 16, 2012 at 6:50 pm

i don’t think i’ve ever seen fresh currants. they are so beautiful. i would have bought some just to see how they taste fresh. always used only dried ones.
love your chia seed substitution and the photos are simply stunning

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Katie July 17, 2012 at 11:36 am

Beautiful photos! I happen to have red, white, and black currants growing in the courtyard of my apartment, so this recipe is just perfect. Did you notice the texture of the cake change at all when you used chia? I know they can have a gelling effect, much like flax. Thanks for the recipe!

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Jen July 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Yes, I’ve heard about chia’s gelling effect. I think some people mix the seeds in juice to get an added boost! But no, it didn’t gel in the cake, so no change in consistency…Thanks for stopping by, Katie :)

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ATasteOfMadness July 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Haha, my sister got me hooked on Lost a couple of months ago, but it was during school, so I didn’t watch much. I should resume :p
I have never heard of chia seeds. But this looks great!

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Andi July 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm

These pics are stunning — I want to eat my computer screen!!!!

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts July 17, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Gorgeous cake! I am looking for recipes to use my Chia Seeds in!

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Magic of Spice July 20, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I just love currants…they are so delightful! As is this gorgeous bread, what a beauty!

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chia seeds July 21, 2012 at 12:33 am

This pics are very nice……… nd lookung yummy…i want to eat all cakes

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Cass @foodmyfriend July 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm

They are definately one of those fruits where you buy them without knowing what to do with them. We’ve all been there! I found them quite tart and bland on their own, but add sugar and they just pop!

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