Tag Archives: cake

christmas cake

wreathRather belatedly, I made our christmas cake last night; I’d normally have done it in November, but what with the move and all …

I use a variation on a tried and tested Nigel Slater recipe, and here it is:

Prepare a 20cm deep cake pan – grease well, line with a double thickness of greaseproof paper, with the sides lined to above the top by a couple of inches.

Amass 1kg of dried fruit – I used figs, prunes, apricots, dates, raisins and sultanas, as that was what was in the baking box, and cut it into small pieces.  This is tedious, but I didn’t bother so much last year, and it wasn’t as nice.

Cream 250g butter and 250g brown sugar together – I used about half and half dark muscovado and demerara.  Beat until it’s light and fluffy, or as light and fluffy as it can be with muscovado in it ..

Add three eggs one by one – don’t worry, it will curdle, probably.

Add 65g of ground almonds, and 100g of shelled hazelnuts, 3 tablespoons of alcohol (recipe says brandy, but I generally use whiskey, and this year I used good bourbon!), zest and juice of an orange, half a teaspoon of baking powder, and 250g of plain flour.  And the fruit.

My mixer always gives up at this point and I have to fold it all together by hand.

Put it in the tin, cook for one hour at gas mark 3, then 1.5 hours at gas 2 – don’t open the oven to prod it until the end.  Leave to cool in the tin, then wrap tightly in foil, and feed it with more alcohol every few days.

We eat as is, as we don’t much like icing.  Merry Christmas!

a brace of banana cakes

a brace of banananananana cakes

Using up: bananas

We had a lot of bananas, so I decided to make some banana cake.  And then I realised we had even more bananas than that, so I thought I’d make two, and freeze one.  Better than letting the bananas go to waste, I thought.

So I duly made two – it really is no more work than making one, except you have to peel more bananas.  And as I took them out of the oven (they smelled heavenly) I thought of my new next door neighbour, who has had about as bad a year as one can have.  So when they’d cooled a little, I wrapped one in a tea towel, and took it round for her and her two boys (she has a baby daughter too, but she might be a bit small for banana cake!)

Recipe (for one cake):

4oz butter or margarine
8oz self raising flour
6oz golden caster sugar, plus a little more if you like
2 eggs
1 generous tsp vanilla extract
2 medium, or 3 small bananas

Peel the bananas, and mash them with a fork.  An old plate is best for this, I find.

Cream butter and sugar together till fluffy, then add the eggs and vanilla extract.  Add the banana gloop and stir in.  Add the flour and stir in.  This is the most ridiculously easy cake recipe I ever saw!

Put into a greased* 2lb loaf tin.  Sprinkle, if you like, with some golden caster sugar, to give a nice glaze.

Bake for 40 minutes at gas 4, then turn the oven down to gas 2 for 30 minutes.

It probably does freeze well, but I can’t say for sure, as I gave away the spare 🙂

*I always use the precut liners from Lakeland – I’m a lousy baker, so I like every little bit of help going.

let them eat cake

cherry cake

Using up: half a lemon, dried cherries

I fancied a cake – both making one, and consuming it.  We don’t have them often, but last night I decided I would.  And it would use up the half a lemon that was in the fridge 🙂

This is based on a Nigella recipe, and works really well.

Cream 250g marge or butter, then beat in 200g golden caster sugar.  You really do need a food mixer for this – or a very strong arm.

Sift 210g of self raising flour, and 90g of plain (or just use plain with 3tsp baking powder – less faff).

Add three eggs to the butter/sugar mix, one at a time, following each with a tablespoon of flour (does that make sense?).  Then fold in the rest of the flour.  Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

The recipe says 4 tablespoons of milk at this stage, but I don’t bother measuring – just pour it in slowly until you get a soft, dropping consistency.  Then I added a handful of dried sour cherries (I bought a big bag full in Costco, and forgot about them), and the juice of the aforementioned half lemon.

Put in a loaf tin, and ust the top with more caster sugar if you like – it gives a nice shiny sugary finish. Bake at gas 3 / 170° for an hour, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Tip: I buy loaf tin liners from Lakeland – I’m not very good at cake, and this means the beasts emerge from the tin with no hassle.  Well worth it, IMV.