So, when someone simply says in passing 'I just love ginger cakes' or 'have you ever made a coffee cake?' then I have a starting point, a purpose from which a plan can be formed, and I do love a plan.
My father specifically requesting ‘a cake’ provided the impetus for this particular Sundays early morning - into mid afternoon - bakathon. He is a frequent recipient of the fruits of my kitchen labours, but he asked and I baked. My dad loves fruitcakes and with the post Christmas overstock of dried fruit languishing in my cupboard, I set about choosing one. It felt good to reacquaint myself with the British books in my collection and the bags of blanched almonds left over from decorating the Christmas Cakes meant a Dundee Cake was an obvious choice. I waivered between a recipe from Leith's Baking Bible and a Delia but in the end settle on Delia's and you can see the recipe here (although the instructions for lining a tin from Leith’s were most useful).
Of course I can't make just one cake, can't be that decisive, but I didn't anticipate the five that came out of the oven on this day. I added 'Jane's Fruit Cake' and 'Cherry Cake' both from Marry Berry’s Baking Bible. I also baked two Marmalade Loaves but because of my lax blogging and the delay between baking and writing this I now can’t find the recipe. I know I made it and I know it was tasty (sorry to taunt) I know the recipe is there somewhere and will update soon (ish).
I'm not sure what my father made of the stack of foil wrapped cakes that I presented him with that evening but I have to say I enjoyed the Marmalade Loaf and Dundee Cake enormously. I'm not a fan of candied peel so would probably reduce this in the Dundee and up the citrus zest to compensate. The fruitcake initially tasted a little bland to me, perhaps the memory of the extraordinarily rich Christmas Cake is still fresh and spicy in my mind, but I found that after a day or two the flavours had matured and it was quite lovely. The Cherry Cake was hit with lots of people, which surprised me, I had many comments saying it was a favourite out of them all.
Jane’s Fruit Cake
200g softened Butter
350g light muscovado Sugar
3 large eggs
450g wholemeal self raising flour
50g flaked almonds for sprinking
Preheat oven 140C, grease a 23cm/9” deep round tin and line the base and sides with parchment.
The directions in Mary’s books sometimes seem a little brief; often just mix all the ingredients till combined. As I use my Kitchenaid (but the principle is the same with a handheld electric whisk) I follow the sequence dictated in many US recipes, although admittedly these tend to be for pound cakes rather than fruitcakes. Anyway, my method of mixing below:
Beat the sugar and butter until creamed – approx 3 mins on high speed
Add flour and buttermilk in alternate batches, ending on the flour and mix until incorporated
Fold in the fruit and mix well
Spoon into the prepared pans and sprinkle with the flaked almonds
Bake for 3 – 3 ½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
Wrap in more parchment and foil to keep moist.
English Cherry Cake
200g glace cherries
275g self raising flour (I used wholemeal)
75g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
Oven 160C/Fan 140/GM3
Grease and line 8” deep round cake tin
Quarter the berries and wash and dry thoroughly
Beat sugar and butter until light and creamy, add the eggs one at a time scraping the bowl after each addition.
Add in the flour and mix well
Fold cherries into the mixture and spoon batter into the tin, leveling the top with the back of a spoon.
Bake for 1 ½ -1 ¾ hours
Leave to cool for 10 mins in the tin then turn out, peel off the parchment and allow to cool completely on a rack.