Most of you know that I have just started my PhD in cancer research. I have another (hopefully) 3 years ahead of me and during this time I hope to be able to unlock some of the mysteries of this complex disease and of course to get my thesis! I am sure that at least everyone of you have known someone affected by cancer. The development of cancer involves many factors; there is no single cause. What my project would involve is trying to find out if we could predict the outcome of patients before they start chemotherapy so that they minimise the toxicities experienced by these drugs and to also understand the link between the immune system and cancer.
Did you know that 1 in 2 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 85!? What a scary thought!
Through fundraising, Cancer Council Australia provides funds for cancer research, patient support and information on all aspects of cancer and to reduce the risk of developing cancer. As most of you would know that one of their fundraisers is Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, this year it is on Thursday 26th May (but you can host an event anytime throughout May or June). All you have to do is either register to host a morning tea throughout April OR attend and donate to a morning tea during the month of May or June.
There’s a handful of ambassadors such as Adriano Zumbo, Tobie Puttock, Janella Purcell, Callum Hann who have come on board and provided some recipes on the site to give you some morning tea ideas.
So then I thought what would I make to bring to a morning tea. I wanted to share something that was easy and simple to prepare and good to share. Keeping to my aim to bake things from cookbooks, I found this awesome looking berry and apple slice. The original recipe calls for blackberries but knowing I wouldn’t be able find them now, I doubled the quantity of blueberries instead (you could use other berries if you want).
To prepare this slice, it’s a matter of preparing the batter, spreading a thin layer of the batter on a baking tray, layering slices of apples on top (although I felt the slice could do with a little more apples ), topping it with more batter and scattering and squishing the blueberries on top.
This was the first time I’ve baked with buttermilk. I’ve heard that it gives a softer texture and more body to baked goods. And these blueberry and apple slices were exactly that! They are irresistibly fluffy and soft. I don’t know why I haven’t baked with buttermilk earlier! It’s sooo good! Immediately after I finished one slice, I had to have another!
If you can’t find buttermilk or can’t be bothered to buy a 600ml carton just for this recipe, you can make your own by adding 1 tbsp of white distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for five minutes, before using it. Don’t worry about the curds, it’s normal.
I hope you get a chance to make this lovely slice. And even more so, that you get involved in helping raise money to help support the fight against cancer because every cup really does make a difference!
Adapted from Indulgence Slices
150g unsalted butter, softened
225g (1 cup) caster sugar
170mL (2/3 cup) buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g (2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
2 large apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Icing sugar, sifted, for dusting (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Lightly grease a 24 x 30 cm (10 x 12 inch) baking tin and line with baking paper, extending the paper over the sides for easy removal later.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla.
- Alternatively mix in the buttermilk mixture and flour into the butter mixture. Mix until smooth.
- Spread a 5mm (1/4 inch) thin layer of the mixture in the prepared tin.
- Arrange the apples on top and spoon the remaining mixture over the apples. Smooth the surface with a spatula.
- Scatter blueberries over the top, pressing them into the mixture.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden.
- Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before lifting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Dust with icing sugar, if using, and cut into squares.