The Loganberry

The loganberry was accidentally created in 1883, in Santa Cruz, California, by the lawyer and horticulturist James Harvey Logan (1841–1928)

Dissatisfied with the varieties of blackberries available, he attempted to cross two existing varieties to produce a third, superior variety.

Purely by chance he planted them next to plants of an old variety of red raspberry and subsequently all of them flowered and fruited together.

Logan then gathered and planted the seed from his cross-bred plants. His 50 seedlings produced plants similar to the blackberry parent but were larger and more vigorous. One variety that produced purple/ruby red fruits was named the Loganberry.

Since Logan’s time, deliberate crosses between varieties the cultivars of raspberry and blackberry have confirmed the Loganberry’s parentage.

The fruit begins to ripen early, middle – late May, with the bulk having ripened and gone before either blackberries or raspberries become plentiful.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the loganberry was used by the British Navy as a source of vitamin C to prevent sailors from getting scurvy much the same as they did with limes during the late 18th century!

Excellent for the table, whether raw or cooked, the seeds are very small, soft and not abundant, being greatly different from both of its parents in this respect. The vines are enormous bearers, and the fruit is very firm, lending itself to the production of jams and jellies.

Loganberry Muffin Cake

Ingredients

10 oz (275 g) loganberries
½ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 oz (275 g) plain flour
1 level tablespoon baking powder
½ level teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 oz (75 g) caster sugar
6 fl oz (170 ml) milk
4 oz (110 g) butter, melted

For the topping:

1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 oz (75 g) self-raising flour
1 oz (25 g) butter, at room temperature
3 oz (75 g) demerara sugar
2 oz (50 g) chopped, toasted hazelnuts

Method:

Sift the dry ingredients twice. In another mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and milk together, then melt the butter and pour this into the egg mixture, whisking once again.

Now sift the flour mixture in on top of the egg mixture and fold it in, using as few folds as possible (ignore the lumpy appearance at this stage and don’t be tempted to over-mix). Fold in the loganberries and spoon into the tin.

To make the topping, you can use the same bowl that the flour was in. Add the flour, cinnamon and butter and rub the butter in until crumbly, then add the sugar and hazelnuts and mix well. Finally, sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of cold water, then press the mixture loosely together. Now sprinkle this mixture all over the cake. Bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the cake feels springy in the centre.

Allow it to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before removing the sides of the tin. Then slide a palette knife gently under the base and transfer the cake to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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