A confluence of random factors led me to this happy experiment: what to bring for sweets at a picnic, when the day is forecast to be just hot enough to numb the mind and slow the senses, which could be eaten with fingers only, which would be robust enough to survive transportation on the back of a push-bike, and which could make use of my mostly-full tub of sour cream?

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These little bites were salvaged from the leftovers to show you just how sturdy they are.  And yet, the effect is still somehow light-tasting and strangely delicate with the drizzled icing.  This cake is largely a variation of this recipe for a “blueberry bake” but I opted for raspberries because I just love the way they mush into whatever they are baked into and yet  retain their amazing colour.  The original recipe calls for walnuts but I was aiming for a kid-friendly version here:  if that’s not a concern, I’d try pistachios or almonds.

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Raspberry sour cream tray cake
Adapted from Cuisine

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon each bicarbonate of soda and baking powder
200g sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1 tbsp lemon juice
250g raspberries (frozen is fine)

For the icing
3/4 cup icing sugar
zest of half a lemon
2-3 tbsp hot water

Preheat the oven to 175C, and prepare a 30x21cm shallow baking tin.  (I used a silicone one that was unfortunately a bit too small, so there was some overflow, but that didn’t hurt the rest of the cake.)

Beat the soft butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl with electric beaters until pale and creamy.   Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla.

Into another bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder.  Get your sour cream and lemon juice ready.

Fold in half the flour mix into the butter mixture, then alternate with half the sour cream, then the remainder of the flour, and finally the remainder of the sour cream and lemon juice.  The mixture will be quite stiff.

Spread out the cake batter into your prepared tray and smooth out the surface until even.  Scatter over the berries (still frozen is fine) – don’t worry if they sit on top as they will sink in later.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  Cool completely in the tin.

When you are ready to ice, mix all the icing ingredients with a spoon, and drizzle over the cooled cake.  Cut into squares (I cut 24 out of mine) when the icing is completely set.

Yield: about 24 small pieces.

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