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Blackberry and pistachio kefir cake

This recipe was developed with samples from Little Bird Kefir.

Following my fermentation fail back in February, I’ve been pretty reluctant to have another go. No-one wants to experience that foul smell twice. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to eat fermented foods done properly by somebody else. Lots of literature suggests that eating ferments could be really good for our guts (research into this is continuing – see for example the British Gut Project and the work of Professor Tim Spector at King’s College London). My main reason however is that fermented foods are well yummy. Which is why I was delighted when the lovely people at Little Bird Kefir agreed to send me some samples of their kefir drink.

Kefir is a thick and tangy fermented drink which is made with either milk or water and kefir ‘grains’ (actually a starter made from a combination of yeast and bacteria). According to Little Bird’s website, the health benefits of drinking kefir are numerous and varied: it’s got way more good bacteria than yoghurt; it might be able to help with acne and your mood; it could assist with weight loss – the list goes on. After enjoying my samples, the main conclusions I felt able to reach was that kefir is delicious and it makes a great cake.

Notes on my recipe


This recipe is based on Ruby Tandoh’s blueberry yoghurt cake.


  • 75ml almond oil
  • 125ml kefir
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 210g plain flour plus an extra tbsp
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g pistachios
  • 200g blackberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4. Grease a 900g (2lb) loaf tin and line the bottom and long sides with a piece of baking paper.
  2. Pop the oil, kefir, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and lemon zest into a large bowl. Bring together with a balloon whisk to form a zingy golden liquid.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Roughly chop the pistachios and stir into the flour.
  4. Toss the rinsed blackberries in the additional tbsp of flour until the berries are well covered. Pick out the blackberries and discard the leftover flour.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and floured blackberries to the liquid mix. Combine without overworking the mixture. Just stir enough so that you can’t see any flour.
  6. Pour the mixture into the combined cake tin and shake the tin a little to level it.
  7. Pop into the preheated oven for 55 to 65 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. If the cake is browning a bit too much on top during cooking, cover it with a double layer of foil.
  8. Leave the cake to cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes or so before removing from the tin. Then leave to cool completely before serving.

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