March 6, 2013

AN ANY TIME OF DAY FRUIT CAKE

Dom’s Random Recipe Challenge for March is to randomly select a recipe from your collection of cuttings, memories and clippings.  As I was reading the post I had in front of me a thick pile of papers; recipes that I had cut out of magazines or printed off from websites and were in need of sorting out.  So I gave them a quick shuffle and found myself looking at a recipe for something called “afternoon tea cake”.  It’s by Rachel Allen and you can see the original here.

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I don’t know why saved this recipe, as I’m not a huge fan of fruit cakes. I think it must have been the title, conjuring up visions of teacups, doyleys and pretty tray cloths. Or maybe because the second item on the list of ingredients was a good sized measure of alchohol. Any cake that has booze in it is definitely worth a second look and as I was reading it my image of lace and teapots took on a different hue and I could imagine little old ladies getting slightly tipsy over their knitting and crochet !! 

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Anyway, it required one 20cm round tin. Not long ago I came across a bargain in Lakeland, this “fancy cake tin” which had a pattern in the base not dissimilar to those old fashioned jelly or blancmange moulds. I don’t think I would have bought it at full price but at £2.99 I thought it might come in handy one day. It makes a cake with a raised pattern on the top, which would look nice for afternoon tea, so it was time to put it to the test.

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The tin would have to have a really good non-stick coating if it was going to be any use, as the cake would be served upside down after it was baked. I decided to spray it with cake release spray, just to be sure I was in with a chance of not finding the pattern that should be on the top of cake still stuck to the inside of the tin when I turned it out.

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It also occurred to me that as cakes rise (or so we hope), there would be a dome on the bottom of the cake when it was turned upside down to reveal the “fancy” top. So when I put the mixture in the tin I made a slight depression in the hope that this might compensate for too much rise. I was also prepared to have to slice the bottom off so that the cake would sit flat and not rock about on the plate.

As it happened, it turned out beautifully and came out of the tin clean as a whistle. And I didn’t have to slice off the bottom. I’m not sure I could taste the booze but it was lovely and moist with a crisp outside, and the amount of fruit was just right for afternoon tea. In fact you could rename it “morning coffee cake” or even “any time you like cake” as it was very moreish and would be nice at any hour of the day. It kept well in a tin for a couple of days – longer than that I can’t say as I took it to work and it soon disappeared !! Definitely a cake I will be making again.

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Ingredients

125g of mixed dried fruit

75 ml of whisky, brandy or cointreau (I used whisky in mine)

200g butter, softened

150g caster sugar

1 tblsp sunflower oil

3 eggs

250g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

Method

Put the fruit and alcohol in a small saucepan, bring to the boil gently, simmer for a few seconds then remove from the heat and put on one side to cool

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°fan / gas mk 4.  Thoroughly grease a 20cm cake tin.

In a large bowl or food mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Then add the eggs one at a time and beat again, followed by the oil.  Add the sifted flour, baking powder, salt and fruit and combine gently but thoroughly.

Tip the mixture into the prepared tin, spread it out and level the top, leaving a slight dent in the centre.

Bake for 50 minutes until cooked.  Cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Cuts into 8-10 slices.

21 comments:

  1. yup, booze in cake is a good thing!... love love love the cake tin, it gives a glorious shape... bet you were so pleased when it came out!... thanks so much for entering this month, i'm glad you enjoyed the challenge x

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    1. Dom, I couldn't resist the tin at £2.99 !!
      I even wondered about making a two-layer cake with a plain bottom, just to see what it looks like.

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  2. Is that a ten or twenty portion cake tin?
    Looks lovely...
    can't taste the alcohol?...
    easy, get hold of one of those 10ml plastic syringes, and the blunt needle, that is part of an inkjet refill kit...
    puts alcohol right to the heart of the cake.

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    1. Tim, it's definitely ten, not twenty, it's a smallish cake.
      Must try that trick with the syringe some time...or maybe I'll just poke a few hole and do a bit of drizzling .....!!

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  3. I bought a Rachel Allen cook book yesterday, but am a bit disappointed that all the recipes don't come with a photograph! There are some inteesting recipes though.

    I like the raised top to the cake. it looks more interesting on the plate.

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    1. Gaynor, I know what you mean about photographs. If there's a picture of what you're aiming for it certainly helps, otherwise, who's to tell whether it turned out right or not ??!!

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  4. What a pretty cake tin- not to mention a super bargain! A lovely idea to use such a tin for cakes that speak for themselves and that perhaps don't need loads of decorating or icing

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    1. Kate, I'm just glad the cake came out in one piece - it wouldn't have looked half as nice if most of the pattern was left stuck to the tin !!

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  5. That looks super, Jean, and the tin was a real bargain. I wonder what the cake tastes like made with calvados....?

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    1. Perpetua, I bet it would be delicious....I might try that next time.

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  6. Just put it in the oven..cointreau flavoured... will let you know how it turns out. Jx

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    1. I hope it turns out ok !!
      (I nervously checked that I hadn't missed anything off the list of ingredients, just in case !!)

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  7. Very pretty tin, and a bargain price too. Cake looks so good.

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  8. I bought that same tin in the sales although haven't gotten round to using it yet. Good to see that the cake turned out beautifully, shame it wasn't boozy enough though!

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  9. Jean, I couldn't help but smile that this cake has won you over to fruit cakes. It sounds good with the addition of whisky and it looks very smart with it's embossed pattern on the top - or should I say bottom!

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  10. Yes, I too was seduced by this cake tin! It does look really pretty and good that the pattern came out. I was wondering what a two layer cake with that as the top would be like - I bet it would look great but you'd have to choose the size of the bottom cake tin carefully because that one's got sloping sides! A light fruit cake sometimes hits the spot perfectly and this one looks great.

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  11. Goodness your baking looks very good Jean!!! Yum!

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  12. I adore fruit cakes and also booze in cakes (or indeed anywhere). I'm also a huge fan of fancy cake tins that do the decorating work for you - and what a bargain! This looks just lovely.

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  13. I love that tin. I need to find something similar.

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    1. They still have them in Lakeland - while stocks last !!

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  14. I am also not a fan of fruit cakes but your description of this one as lovely and moist with a crisp outside just might win me over. And I love the gentle sprinkling of icing sugar that brings out the design of your pretty pan. Sweet!

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