(Almost) According to Delia: Family Cake

(There’d be a photo, but my camera died at an inopportune moment.)

This is the sort of fruity Madeira cake that gets made for picnics, or packed lunches, or afternoon tea. The sort that is really tasty with a cup of tea.

I did a little experimenting with it, and not just my normal experimentation with apple sauce or bananas. I figured that since apple sauce is kinda like jam, I’d use some elderflower and gooseberry I had in the fridge. I don’t know why I buy jams, since I don’t tend to put it on my toast. Somehow they seem to gather, and breed. But I thought I’d see how it works as an egg replacement in cake.

So. Family Cake.

275g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

225g spreadable butter (coconut oil)

225g caster sugar

4 large eggs (4 large spoons of jam)

a few drops of almond essence (orange essence)

110g dried fruits + 25g glace cherries, sliced (candied peel)

Sprinkling of demerara sugar and flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Grease and line a tin – Delia reckons a 20cm x 26cm tin, but I only have normal circular ones, so whatever you’ve got will probably work.

So. Sieve the flour and baking powder. Then just mix in the butter, sugar, eggs and essence until you get a a creamy consistency, then add in the dried fruits.

Pour into the baking tin and sprinkle the demerara sugar and flaked almonds across the top. I’ll admit, I forgot these until after I’d put it in the oven. However.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the centre is springy to touch.

Slow and Steady Steggy

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The Stegosaurus is being a little slow to stitch for several reasons.

Firstly, because of the linen. Secondly, because of other projects on the go at the same time.

And thirdly, because I’ve recently started watching Pretty Little Liars on Netflix, and it requires about as much concentration as the cross-stitch, or I’ll miss something.

However, slow and steady wins the race, right? Not that this is a race, but hey. Better to take my time and do it right than to rush it and have to re-do it.

(Almost) According to Delia: the Sponge Cake

It’s a classic, is the humble Sponge. The basic recipe, for a simple yet delicious cake, from which all others are simply variations. If you know a good recipe for a Sponge, you’re set for life when it comes to cakes.

When I was allowed to bake unaccompanied (I have a feeling my mother didn’t know. Or my dad was the one in charge that day and he was out hedging, probably), the first recipe I remember using was one of Delia’s, from her How to Cook series. I had a habit then, as now when I can, of adding in all sorts of sweet and sickly extras (although, I never tried all-sorts in my cakes). Terribly sweet-toothed as a child. Less so now, after the no-sugar experiments.

But anyway. The humble Sponge Cake. Light, delicate, and extremely versatile. This one, as requested by Mark, has fewer changes made: the only important deviation was switching out the stated vanilla for some Sicilian lemon. I’m not sure how this has been able to happen but my pantry has been allowed to run out of vanilla. So I had to substitute quickly. And with my planned toppings of raspberry and mango (if it will ripen in the next few hours, please!) I figured lemon would go nicely.

As always, the preferred size tin is smaller than my smallest, which is a 9″ diameter one; Delia would prefer you use a 7″ one. Mine might turn out to be a one-layer cake, slathered in whipped cream and topped with the aforementioned fruits.Oh well!

The mango did not ripen in time...

The mango did not ripen in time…

Ingredients:

115g/4oz self-raising flour (actually, I used plain)

1 level tsp baking powder (mine was heaped, because of the flour)

115g/4oz spreadable butter

115g/4oz golden caster sugar (again, I used what was in my cupboard, which was ordinary caster)

2 large eggs (I think mine were small, which might explain the need for a little milk)

1 tsp vanilla essence (like I said, I used Sicilian lemon)

Jam and/or whipped cream to sandwich

How to Make:

Pre-heat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3 and grease and line your tin. If you’ve got the little ones, you’ll need two. Otherwise, one will do.

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, then add in the other ingredients. If you’ve got a food processor, use that until it’s a creamy consistency. If you don’t, you’re in good company: I don’t either. We need to apply a little old-fashioned elbow-grease and mix with a wooden spoon until it reaches the proper cake-batter consistency. If, like me, you find it’s a bit hard-going, you might benefit from the addition of a splash of milk. Not too much!

Pour into the tin or tins and pop in the oven for about half an hour. Allow to cool on a wire-rack and decorate as desired. Traditionally, one sandwiches the two halves together with jam (strawberry or raspberry) and whipped cream, if you’re feeling decadent. If you used a single large tin, you might decide that it would be a bit thin to slice in two, in which case one layer, lots of topping!