Food & wine

Flavours of Summer: Rosie Birkett’s gooseberry & raspberry upside-down cake

This delightful upside down cake makes the most of our most quintessentially British fruits and served with rose water cream on top. Food writer and journalist Rosie Birkett tells us more about the inspiration behind the dish from her book The Joyful Cook below.


Summer is such an exciting time for ingredients, particularly fruit, and I'll never forget our first summer on our old allotment, where we had been working for months to get it into shape after inheriting a truly wild and unkempt patch, thick with thistles. We spent months fighting with weeds, making beds and planting, but come the summer we were richly rewarded, thanks to inherited treasures like a fruitful apple tree, many raspberry bushes and one prolific gooseberry bush.

The long summer days unlock so much potential in your weekly routine, and we would spend our evenings after work on the allotment having little barbecues and sharing a bottle of wine as we worked, then cycling back across the marshes in the sunset, our baskets brimming with our little harvests. I remember having so many gooseberries one year we had to freeze a load of them, and then when the raspberries came out I mixed the two fruits together to make this cake, the sourness of the gooseberries countered by the bursting sweetness of the raspberries.

While we've sadly no longer got the allotment, this year we have finally moved to a house with a garden and we are so looking forward to recreating our allotment here. And enjoying many bottles of wine of course, without the worry of the cycle home!

Recipe: Rosie's summer gooseberry and raspberry upside-down cake with clouds of rose water cream
This juicy upside-down cake is reminiscent of macaroons and Turkish delight, with rose water-laced clouds of whipped cream, baked summer fruit and almond and coconut sponge. Pairing tart gooseberries with raspberries gives it a sweet, sour and textural contrast with pockets of moist fruit keeping every mouthful interesting. The sponge can easily be made ahead and topped with the cream and flower petals just before serving.


Serves 4-6

For the sponge:

  • butter, for greasing
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 250g raspberries
  • 250g gooseberries, washed and any little dry brown tails pinched off
  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of fine salt
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • 4 eggs
  • 120g golden caster sugar
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • rose petals or other edible flowers, to serve

For the rose water cream:

  • 400ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 3 tsp rose water


Flavours Of Summer: Rosie Birkett’s Gooseberry & Raspberry Upside-Down Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6, grease a round 22cm cake tin and line it with baking parchment.
  2. Scatter half the flaked almonds over the base of the cake tin, followed by the berries and the rest of the almonds.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds into a bowl, add the desiccated coconut and stir to combine.
  4. Put the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed for a few minutes until frothy, then whisk in the milk, vanilla extract and olive oil. Alternatively, use a bowl and an electric hand-held whisk. Fold the frothy egg mix into the dry ingredients to make a thick but wet batter. Pour this over the berries and bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the cake tin, then turn it out onto a plate, with the gooseberries on top.
  5. Using a balloon whisk and elbow grease, or very gingerly with a stand mixer, whip the cream with the caster sugar until it reaches soft, floppy peaks (keeping a close eye on it so that you don't over-whip it). When it's almost at the perfect soft consistency, add the rose water and mix it through. Pile the rose water cream on top of the cake and scatter with rose petals or other edible flowers.

Wine recommendations

The tartness of the fruit combined with the sweetness of the cake make it a little tricky to find wines to go with this, but a frothy moscato would hit the right note, or if you wanted to push the boat out, what about a gewurztraminer to match the heady rose petal notes? An English sparkling wine would add a suitably celebratory feel too.

Rosie Birkett

Guest Writer

Rosie Birkett

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