Recipe: Make our yummy blackberry and liquorice cake bars

PUBLISHED: 15:54 19 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:54 19 September 2018

Blackberry and liquorice cake bars  Picture: Archant

Blackberry and liquorice cake bars Picture: Archant


Make our autumnal berry bake with a quirky twist.

I must admit, it’s a little depressing visiting the countryside close to my home at the moment. Where there was once an abundance of berries, now remain just a few tiny brambles, surrounded by browning stems. Rose hips (used as itching powder on my brother when we were kids) poke through, bearing just a few remaining delicate petals. All those signals that we’re crawling to those ever darker nights are around us in nature.

Not that I don’t like autumn and winter, with their pot roasts, stews and pies, but I’m just not ready yet. I’d quite like one more sunny long weekend in the garden with a good book!

However, time and tide change for no man (or woman) so we have to make the most of these remaining edible gems.

Just don’t forage like me – in your favourite work blouse and without your specs…

This week I’ve paired blackberries with liquorice. These two ingredients really bring out the best in each other – the tartness of the oozingly juicy purple berries enhanced massively by the dark molasses sucrose notes of the sweets.

The duo are tossed into a sponge mixture and baked over a very thin crisp shortbread for added texture. Lovely for Sunday pud with a bit of clotted cream or ice cream and a dollop of warm compote.

Don’t worry if you can’t find any blackberries near you – they are everywhere at farmers’ markets and supermarkets at the moment. The East of England Co-op had some particularly fine specimens in store when I was shopping for ingredients.

Give them a go and let me know what you think at

Blackberry and liquorice cake bars

(makes 12-16)


125g rice flour

100g unsalted butter, cold and cubed

50g caster sugar

1tsp vanilla extract


175g each unsalted butter, plain flour, caster sugar

2tsps baking powder

1tsp vanilla extract

3tbsps milk

3 medium eggs

To top:

Blackberry or blackcurrant jam, 150g blackberries washed and thoroughly dried, 50g black liquorice chopped roughly into small pieces


Set the oven to 190C. Line a 20cm by 30cm baking tray with deep sides (a brownie tin is perfect). In a food processor combine the rice flour, butter, sugar and vanilla for the base until you have breadcrumbs. Take it out and lightly bring together with your hands.

Press into your tin. It will form a thin layer across the whole base. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Bake the base in the pre-heated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden. Remove to a rack in the tin to cool for 10 minutes.

Warm a few tablespoons of jam in a saucepan or bowl in the microwave and spread gently across the whole base.

Beat together the sugar, butter and vanilla extract for the sponge until creamy. Add the eggs one by one, beating in until smooth. Beat in the flour and baking powder, followed by the milk it a nice dropping consistency.

Stir through the liquorice and spread evenly across your base.

Press the blackberries into the mixture evenly and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden and risen.

Allow to cool in the tin before cutting. It’s gorgeous warm with a blackberry compote and clotted cream.

Charlotte used Marriage’s flour, Marybelle milk, Tiptree blackcurrant jam and Havensfield eggs for this recipe, all available at The East of England Co-op as part of its Sourced Locally range.

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