Blueberry and apple slice

12 April 2011
by Phuoc

Picture courtesy of Cancer Council Australia

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!

Picture courtesy of Cancer Council Australia


Adapted from Indulgence Slices

Makes 20

150g unsalted butter, softened

225g (1 cup) caster sugar

2 eggs

170mL (2/3 cup) buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

250g (2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted

2 large apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

250g blueberries

Icing sugar, sifted, for dusting (optional)

  1. 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.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined after each addition.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla.
  5. Alternatively mix in the buttermilk mixture and flour into the butter mixture. Mix until smooth.
  6. Spread a 5mm (1/4 inch) thin layer of the mixture in the prepared tin.
  7. Arrange the apples on top and spoon the remaining mixture over the apples. Smooth the surface with a spatula.
  8. Scatter blueberries over the top, pressing them into the mixture.
  9. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden.
  10. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before lifting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Dust with icing sugar, if using, and cut into squares.

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  1. MissPiggy

    If I tell you my lunch got run over by a truck today would you stop by my office with more of this tasty slice? I loved it – so soft, fluffy and the apple was a great sour hit! Mmmm.

  2. Jacq

    Looks like the perfect slice for morning tea! I love anything with buttermilk, especially pancakes coz it makes them so light and fluffy!

  3. Sara @ Belly Rumbles

    I am very fond of blueberries and always looking for new recipes, this one is perfect.

    Good luck with your PhD, I find Cancer a very scary customer.

  4. Sukaina

    I just wanted to say good luck with the next three years and your thesis. I’m sure all the hard work will pay off- not just for yourself but for all your patients too. The bars look delightfully moist and I love the addition of apple with the berries. Haven’t seen that before.

  5. Trisha

    OMG dude you’re such a smart cookie! Dr Phuoc… don’t forget about us when you’re all doctorate and everything! 🙂 Proud of you chica!

  6. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    Those statistics are quite frightening. I wish you much success in your research, it’s such important work that you are doing.

  7. Thip

    That is scary for sure, Phuoc–1 out of 2. 🙁

    Our boxer, just diagnosed with a brain tumor and went through a radiation treatment last month. He’s getting better. I’ll have to give credit to the vet and the researchers.

  8. anh

    You know you have my 100% support on your research which has such a wonderful aim (well, compared to mine: pure $ making venture :D). Now when r u baking this to me? 😉

  9. angie

    Yup, grandpa was recently diagnosed =( It is definately a worthy cause, and everyone loves baked goods! Might have to organise one for the office.
    I could have made this slice, but I used up my stash of frozen (fresh) blueberries already, at $10 a punnet at the moment it’ll be one extravagent (but oh so tasty) slice =)

  10. Helen (grabyourfork)

    This looks delicious. I often replace natural yoghurt for buttermilk as I make my own and it works well. And kudos to your research efforts. Cancer affects everyone.

  11. reality raver

    I love the name of your blog. Great blog post and recipe and photo of Zumbo

  12. Tina@foodboozeshoes

    Oooh yummy! I love the look of this slice – great cause, great work you’re doing too 🙂

  13. Jenn Brigole

    This is wonderful, what you do – sharing what you can to help and show support in your own way. 🙂 Each slice gives hope. Plus, I love apples. 🙂 Cheers!

  14. Phuoc

    Miss Piggy: Hehe.. Glad you liked it 🙂

    Jacq: I’m now tempted to add buttermilk in everything I bake now 🙂 That texture is something else!

    Sara: Thanks for the wishes.. Blueberries are awesome!

    Sukaina: Thank you, all I need is perseverance in those 3 years.

    Trisha: HAHA Thanks! I’ve gotta get there first. Hope I don’t go insane in the process :p

    Sylvie: Thank you – I just have to reminding myself that through the hard times (that is, next year)

    Thip: Ngawww… I hope he makes a speedy recovery and gets better soon!

    Anh: HAHA Thanks Anh! I’ll bake it next time you come down!

    Angie: Oh no! That’s not good Angie! I hope he does well with his treatment, thoughts are with you and your family. I’m going to try organise one at uni too, it’s not going to be extremely big but just for the department. A punnet of fresh blueberries are indeed expensive at the moment, so feel free to use the frozen ones because I did!

    Helen: I’ve got to try that one too, heard yoghurt gives cakes a wonderfully moist texture. Thanks! I’ll try my best for the next 3 years!

    Reality Raver: Hi! Thanks 🙂

    Tina: Thank you! I’m glad to be able to promote another of my passion and a worthy cause with food 🙂

    Jenn Brigole: Hi! Thank you. Any small donation brings us a step closer to finding a cure and hope for cancer patients 🙂

  15. mademoiselle délicieuse

    Looking forward to the morning tea we’ll be hosting in the honour of cancer research at work once again this year. Apart from it being a big part of the research undertaken where I work, I have also been touched and known people close to me to have been affected by cancer.

    Best of luck for your PhD studies. I shall be most looking forward to calling you Dr Phuoc in future!

  16. Phuoc

    Mademoiselle délicieuse: I’m planning on hosting one at the uni too, I can’t believe no one has done it before in my department. It is a good and fun cause because you get to use the excuse of “raising funds for cancer research” to eat cakes and drink tea (not that you need much excuses to do that anyway). Thanks.. Dr Phuoc, that sounds so funny!

  17. betty

    this looks so good thanks for sharing. and its great what you are doing with the cancer research, i wish you all the luck in world and hope u get your thesis done xo

  18. Susan

    I love those sorts of cakes. I just made a yoghurt berry cake which was so moist and delicious.

  19. Phuoc

    Betty: Thanks! I can only try my best 🙂

    Susan: That does sound nice! Gotta try yoghurt cakes now

  20. Chi Anh @ Door To My Kitchen

    I want blueberries in Hanoi!! *stomp*

  21. Phuoc

    Chi Anh: What?! No blueberries? Not even frozen? 🙁

  22. Jayson James

    This looks yummy! I’m a big fan of blueberries. This is definitely going to be part of my list. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Phuoc

    Jayson James: Blueberries are great aren’t they? Remember if you can’t get fresh berries then frozen is fine 🙂

  24. Gianna

    You smart smart cookie – eating for a good cause is definitely something to get behind and this slice looks absolutely delicious! Great job raising awareness for cancer research dr phuoc, now that’s making a difference 😉

  25. Phuoc

    Gianna: Thanks dear! This is why I love promoting this cause – I get to raise awareness for something I am passionate about (that is, cancer research) through my blog and food. It’s a WIN-WIN situation I think! 🙂

    Dr Phuoc sounds so funny just now… Get back to me in 3 years time!

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