This simple gooseberry and coconut cake is perfect for a lovely summer teatime treat. The gooseberries add a moist sweetness to every bite.
Gooseberries are a very British fruit. These delicious tangy berries thrive in a cool temperate climate like ours. Gooseberries have a short season, from May until August but they peak in July. Now is the time to make the most of them. I have a list of other food that is in season in July if you want to check.
Gooseberries were at their most popular in the 19th century. Many different varieties were grown and the bushes were spread all over the country. These days gooseberries are less popular. The tangy green fruit has to compete with other glorious summer fruits. A bowl of strawberries and cream has more appeal than a bowl of poached gooseberries. it could be in part to the way gooseberries are shown in common idioms. After all who likes playing the gooseberry?
Gooseberries are ready for picking in July. The good news is that you can pick gooseberries before they are ripe. If you want to make jam they will work better when they are slightly bitter. Some gooseberries change colour when they are ripe. They can be red, yellow, white, green or pink depending on the variety. The best way to tell if a gooseberry is ripe is to squeeze it gently. When ripe they have a little give. Remember to wear gloves when picking gooseberries. They have sharp thorns which can give you a nasty scratch.
Did you know there are two different types of gooseberries? There is the green tart cooking variety which is often found in crumbles. There is also a sweet dessert gooseberry which can be eaten raw. Early in the season the gooseberry is bright green and some varities have sparse thin hair. Later in the season you will find the sweeter varieties which are often red or yellow.
While gooseberries are a little harder to prepare that other summer fruits, they are definitely worth the effort. Before using the gooseberries in cooking they need to be topped and tailed. This refers to the removal of the stalk and the little bit of fluff at each end of the gooseberry.
Having to do this is a little fiddly but the effort is worth it as the dishes you can make with gooseberries are delicious. Nothing is nicer than a gooseberry crumble fresh from the oven or a creamy gooseberry fool for dessert. Gooseberry and elderflower sorbet is really refreshing on a hot day and a great thirst quencher.
I have one gooseberry bush in my garden and every year I get more and more gooseberries from it. One day I hope to have enough to make gooseberry jam. This year I had a bumper crop, 350g of gooseberries. This was enough to make a cake.
I thought I would make a gooseberry and coconut cake as I had two nearly empty packets of dessicated coconut in my cupboard. These were taking up space and I thought the moist coconut would work well with the tart gooseberries. A sprinkle of the last of a packet of flaked almonds was the perfect finishing touch for the cake and it made a wonderful teatime treat.
The gooseberries add a lovely tart sweet taste to the cake which complements the coconut in a wonderful way. It is really easy to make the cake.
The only time consuming part is preparing the gooseberries. Once these have been topped and tailed it is just a question of whisking all the ingredients together and baking. A wonderful aroma fill the house whilst the cake bakes. Once it comes out of the oven it is difficult to wait until the cake is cool.
Why not pin the recipe to make later?
What are your favourite gooseberry recipes? Let me know below.