Monday, January 10, 2011

Cape Gooseberry Cake, and a gardening surprise

When I got back to New Zealand, in October, I noticed that the tomatillo had self-seeded in the veggie garden. I thought "good!" and left it there. At first there were just a few little plants, then they took over half of my top terrace garden bed, and became a forest. I though "oh!" but I left the plants there, imagining a surplus of Mexican green sauce for the summer.

The plants grew, but the pods remained small. Initially I thought that this was due to the fact that I didn't actually plant them, or looked after them. Then I got suspicious, and I tasted one.

They are NOT tomatillos, they are Cape Gooseberries!!! How did they get there I have no idea!
Usually I pick Cape gooseberries from my neighbor, but he is too far away in the bush... the only explanations is... birds??? I am not sure.

Anyway, we like them, and pick some every day now. I decided to improvise a dairy free cake.

I mixed 3 eggs with 200 g of sugar, 200 g of self raising flour, 100 ml of vegetable oil, a little vanilla essence and a few cut Cape gooseberries. Not much of a recipe really, I made it in 5 minutes, and baked it for about 30.

And here it is, my cake, fruit of my surprise crop!!!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


  1. luky you!
    qui le usano per decorare le torte e le rare volte che si vedono in vendita costano l'ira di D-o!!! che belle e che bella torta. un giorno ti verrò a trovare e me ne darai un pezzetto.
    un bacione

  2. carine carine le foto, rendono molto l'idea della foresta :D chissà che sorpresa davvero quando hai scoperto l'equivoco!!! In ogni caso, ottimo impiego!

  3. Gli alchechenji!Qui in italia li usano spesso coperti di cioccolato fondente...che meraviglia, nel porprio giardino!
    Anche oggi mi hai stupito dall'altro mondo!
    Un abcione

  4. adesso so come si chiamano in italiano!!!

  5. I wish it was summer here too.... :) Great pictures!

  6. i have always been wondering what to do with these berries...great found one recipe! yum!

  7. I am with Vic and wish the sun was shining here. The gooseberry cake intrigues me, although I've had them fresh (imported of course) I've never had anything baked like this. So would love to have had a slice.

  8. gli alchechengi!! li compro quell rare volte che li trovo ma apparte mangiarli così, usarli nelle insalte o bagnarli nel cioccolato, non so mai come altro farli...proverò questa torta sicuramente!

  9. In baking they are nice. On the sidebar I have a recipe for Cape gooseberry cupcakes.

  10. mai mangiati gli alchechengi, lo confesso! Mi intrigano pero...e anche la tua torta Alessandra...Un bacione e buona giornata...

  11. Cara Alessandra,la tua civetta e' bellissima...guai a chi la mangia....!!!!!Buona la tua torta con gli alchechengi...non avevamo mai visto la pianta su cui crescono.....A presto...kiss x 3 ...Civette...

  12. You are a clever girl! I wouldn't recognize a cape gooseberry if it bit me in the ankle :-). The cake was a wonderful idea and it sounds delicious. Will there be jam in your future? Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  13. I am living vicariously through your garden now, Alessandra; as I write this we are expecting up to 20 inches of new snow in the Hudson Valley! Ah, well, I do love the seasons.
    I planted tomatillos once in my garden and then these little "pineapple tomatoes" that look very much like your gooseberries. Since then I have never had to plant them again! I have seen the pineapple tomatoes used in a yogurt cheesecake that was delicious. Your recipe sounds simply sublime!

  14. I have never had one of these...they do look interesting! Are they sour at all?

    Happy day to you. ox

  15. Davvero! sono d'accordo con il commento di ELeonora.
    Costano come l'oro e si usano solo per decoro sulle crostate...
    Posso avere una fetta abbondante di questa torta?
    Baci Barbara

  16. Hi Alessandra, love the look of the gooseberry cake, I've never eaten them that much (apart from in jam) so will have to experiment and try the cake!

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