Friday, April 4, 2014

Guest Post: Pamela Timms of Eat And Dust, Mulberry and Lemon Yogurt Cake

   We are on the move here in Sonoma. Not leaving town, but moving in closer. We've come down from our hill and have bought a house in town, closer to the action. My entire kitchen has been packed up, the larder emptied, boxes and paper strewn everywhere, in short I am in cooking jail. No cooking for me. So, I've decided not to tough it out and make chapatis over a pile of burning cardboard boxes (don't dare me, I will do it) instead I've reached out to some friends for help and they've kindly offered to step in and guest-host until my kitchen is back in semi working order after the next couple of weeks. I am so grateful for their wonderful recipes, and even more grateful that I don't actually have to make chapatis over a pile of burning cardboard boxes.
   Hopefully I'll be back behind a stove in the next 2 weeks, and renovation!!!  I'm already scouting stoves, and perhaps even a tandoor oven. I visited The Granary today on the way to get more boxes and am making plans for a coop and some chickens. Things will be getting very interesting around here in short order. Meanwhile, my first Guest Host is the amazing Pamela Timms from Delhi, India who writes Eat and Dust

What she does with Mulberries will delight you!

Take it away Pamela.........

Between the ages of 3 and 8 I probably sang ‘Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush’ on average 5 times a day in the school playground.  And yet, growing up, I don’t remember ever seeing mulberry bushes, even though they’ve been around in Britain since the 17th century.

In fact, I didn’t see a mulberry until 8 years ago when we came to live in India, where they’re called shatoot and grow briefly but prolifically in April (a bit earlier than in California, I think).  Since then, the short Indian mulberry season has become a highlight of my food year, partly because it reminds me that I’m incredibly lucky to live somewhere that still has very clear (non shrink-wrapped) food seasons. 

For two weeks, just as the temperatures are starting to soar, wrinkly old women in saris sit by the side of the road selling baskets of the just-foraged fruit.   I saw these ones, prettily adorned with roses, on a pavement in Old Delhi the other day.

Usually the foragers are keen to sell off their baskets quickly as the fruit doesn't keep well – no-one is ever going to make their fortune exporting mulberries.  I can never resist anything in glut form and so we eat the fruit until we feel sick then I use what’s left in my baking.  You’ll find more of my mulberry trivia and recipes here, here and here.

This week I decided to use my surplus mulberries in a yogurt cake – easy peasy, even in my non air-conditioned Delhi kitchen which is already turning into a sauna.  The original yogurt cake recipe made the trip to India with me back in 2005 but started life on one of Scotland’s far-flung islands.   In 1975 my aunt and uncle were posted to the Isle of Skye and for a while many of their belongings, including kitchen scales and measuring cups, were still in storage. Aunty-ji (as we now refer to her since she herself made the trip to India to visit us) was frustrated at being unable to do any baking - at that time she would have been as likely to find baking equipment on the Isle of Skye as I was in Delhi in the early 2000s.  She was therefore delighted when she tuned into the Jimmy Young Programme one morning and heard a recipe for yogurt cake which called for nothing except an empty yogurt pot.

Auntyji’s cake is a moist, no-frills, never-let-you-down, little black dress of a cake. You can take it anywhere, dress it up, dress it down, reduce the sugar, omit eggs, and it will still be eager to please. In its unadorned 1970s form, it’s a soothing slice to accompany a cup of tea but if you treat it like a lady and shower it with fruit and frosting it turns into a showstopper.   This mulberry and lemon yogurt cake is for Kathy who has been having a tough few months.  Of course, Kathy, you’re going to have to come to Delhi to taste it – but the spare room’s ready too!

Mulberry and Lemon Yogurt Cake

For the cake:
1 small (200ml) pot of natural yogurt – then use the cleaned and dried pot to measure everything else:
2 pots caster sugar
3 eggs
1 pot sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 pots plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
200g fresh raspberries or other soft fruit
For the frosting:
2 pots icing sugar
2 pots of mulberries, de-stalked
1 tablespoon lemon juice
A few extra mulberries to decorate

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.  Grease a ring mould (my aunt always makes her yogurt cake in a loaf tin so that’s another option).
In a bowl, mix the yogurt, sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla essence, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat the mixture well until smooth. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the wet until everything is well incorporated. Pour half the mixture into the tin, sprinkle in half a pot of mulberries then cover with the remaining mixture then finish with another half pot of mulberries.  Bake for about 30-45 minutes until the top is well risen and browned and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Leave the cake in the tin for a few minutes then turn out onto a baking rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl and crush in enough mulberries to make a thick but spreadable frosting.  When the cake is cool, spread the frosting over the surface and decorate with a few whole mulberries.


  1. Sure going to try this as we have a few mulberry trees around here where we live.....I line in Delhi too!

  2. So glad to see Pamella here on The Colours of Indian Cooking. I am myself foraging loads of mulberries from the trees around my place, eating them as as mostly, making sorbet and smoothie from the leftovers. Have jars of mulberry jam from last year and have promised myself not to make any more mulberry jam this season :-)
    This cake I might bake for friends.

  3. Love mulberries and this is definitely a must try one,



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