Summer pudding loaf

Serves: 10
Course: Dessert
Cooking Time: 50 mins
Prep Time: 4 hrs
  • 175g soft butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped (or 2tsp vanilla extract)
  • 3tbs crème de cassis or berry liqueur (optional)
  • 1tbs elderflower liqueur (optional)
  • 700g summer berries (I use a mix of 250g strawberries, 250g raspberries, 100g blackcurrants and 100g blueberries)

For the sponge

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees, or 170 fan. Grease and line a 1.5lb loaf tin with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and soft. Add the eggs one by one, beating until well combined. Add the orange zest and juice.

3. Sift in the flour and baking powder, and add the ground almonds, then fold through until just combined.

4. Pour the sponge batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and well risen, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes in the tin before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:

1. Line a 1.5lb loaf tin with two layers of cling film, leaving a few centimetres hanging over the edge.

2. Put the sugar into a medium saucepan with 50ml water with the vanilla, elderflower liqueur and crème de cassis (if using) and bring to a boil. Leave to bubble for about five minutes until reduced slightly.

3. Quarter any large strawberries and add to the pan with the remaining fruit. Allow to bubble for about a minute, then turn off the heat and set aside to cool for half an hour.

To assemble:

1. Slice the cooled sponge lengthways into 5mm slices. Keep any trimmings or smaller pieces.

2. Strain the syrup from the fruit into a bowl, and soak the slices one by one for a few seconds to coat. Arrange the sponge pieces in the base and up the sides of the tin, pressing together any smaller pieces to make them fit.

3. Spoon in the fruit, and pour most of the syrup on top. Dip the last pieces of sponge in the syrup and press on top of the fruit, compacting tightly. Fold the hanging cling film over the sponge and place a few plates on top to weigh the pudding down and compress everything together.

4. Chill for four hours or overnight.

5. Turn out, remove the cling film and cut into slices to serve.