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Roasted strawberry and black pepper buttermilk cake

It's been so long since I baked. I can't even remember the last time I did it. Life has been so busy recently, juggling work and family. My cooking mojo definitely left the building for a while. But now with the approaching school summer holidays (two days and counting), I feel a need to get back in the kitchen.  

It's also helped tremendously to find new cookbooks to provide me with some different recipes to try. And this was one title I was super happy to stumble across, 'Honey and Jam' by Hannah Queen. I've been a big fan of her beautiful blog for a long time, her words and pictures are constant sources of inspiration, but truthfully I'd forgotten all about her book coming out. One quick glance through the pages and I knew it was just what I needed to get me back in the baking groove. Hannah's rustic approach to baking really appeals to me, as does her passion for eating local, seasonal produce. 

There are so many cakes that I wanted to make from it, and it's handily divided into chapters on seasonal eating. Now as it's summer, it's all about the strawberries, and I was keen to try them roasted with black pepper in this buttermilk cake. 

The scent of the strawberries roasting in the oven is intoxicating and the leftover syrup on the greaseproof paper is so delicious that it's hard not to lick it clean! It's a bit rough around the edges in the looks department, but what it lacks for in elegance it more than makes up for in flavour.  And it's perfect for breakfast - so it's totally my kind of cake. 

Adapted from Honey and Jam by Hannah Queen 

Ingredients:

For the roasted strawberries:

400g strawberries, hulled and halved

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To roast the strawberries:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. In a medium sized bowl, combine the strawberries, oil, sugar and pepper. Arrange the berries in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast them for about 20 - 25 minutes or until they are soft. Allow to cool. 

For the cake:

170g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

115g unsalted butter, room temperature

200g granulated sugar

2 large free-range eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

120ml buttermilk 

To make the cake:

Butter and line a 23cm round cake tin. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. 

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Add the vanilla and beat again. 

Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the mixer bowl, beginning and ending with the flour. 

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and top it with the roasted strawberries. Bake for about 30 minutes and test with a skewer to check that it's done. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.