I was asked to make some cakes for a charity cake sale that could be frozen until the day of the sale. Loaf cakes and traybakes are easy to freeze but can look a bit plain and not sell as well as the more fancy cakes on the stall.
Then I stumbled across a blog with a recipe for Madeira cake made in a Bundt tin. What a great idea thought I - much more appealing. Just to be on the safe side I decided to make one for home consumption beforehand to check that it would work. It worked.
A friend had asked her visitors from America to bring me a Nordic Ware Bundt tin that I coveted which was called a "blossom pan". They are so much cheaper to buy over there and I thank this mystery person from the bottom of my heart for bringing it in her luggage. When you look closely at Nordic Ware pans (tins) you just have to admire the design. All those intricate curves designed so that the cake will come out with a beautiful shape. Then when you consider the hefty material they're made of and the superb non stick coating, there's no wonder they're so expensive.
It occurred to me that with this particular tin the cake would still look right if some of the design was missing from the bottom. Judging from the quantity of flour and other ingredients in the recipe I realised that there would not be enough mixture to fill the tin - or up to two thirds as is usually recommended - so some of the pattern would be missing when the cake was turned out. This would look odd with some of the Nordic Ware designs I have, but fine with this one.
I also learned a new trick from the recipe. To make a channel in the top of the mixture would produce a flatter top to the cake which was very handy when the cake was turned out. I have often had to remove a bulge from the top in order to get the cake to be level when inverted and this solves that problem. It's such a simple solution that I feel rather silly that I never thought of it myself before.
Anyway, the cake looked gorgeous and tasted lovely. This will be my go-to lemon cake recipe in future I think. Nice and moist and just lemony enough, with an excellent crumb. It kept really well in an airtight tin for several days. A keeper in more ways than one. Even in a loaf tin. You can see the recipe here.
175g softened butter (I used Lurpak Spreadable)
175g caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
3 large eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1.5 tsp baking powder
150g plain flour
75g ground almonds
splash of milk
icing sugar to dust (optional)
Prepare the Bundt tin (or use a 1kg loaf tin) by brushing with melted butter and dusting with flour, or using home made cake release paste. (See sidebar.) Preheat the oven to 170C / 150 Fan.
Using a stand mixer, beat the butter until pale and creamy then beat in the sugar. Beat in the lemon zest.
Whisk the eggs with the almond essence in a jug and pour into the mix a dribble at a time, thoroughly mixing between additions. Add a spoonful of the flour if it begins to curdle.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and sift in half of the flour and baking powder. Fold in carefully and repeat with the other half then the ground almonds. Add enough milk to get a soft dropping consistency.
Transfer to the tin, level the top and run the spoon around the centre to make a shallow channel. Tap the tin a few times on the worktop to help remove any trapped air bubbles.
Bake for 40-50 minutes (mine was done in 40) until golden brown and coming away from the sides of the tin. Cool for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Dust with icing sugar if you like. Cuts into 10-12 slices.