Most of a month has gone by without another blog, for which I must apologise. There are no real excuses, just the pressure of conflicting calls on my time. I did successfully complete the Prudential Ride London 100 and many thanks for the sponsorship and messages of encouragement.
It has been so long since I last blogged that I had to remind myself where I had reached in my tour of Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. You may remember, as I just about did, that I was somewhere in Chapter Two: Fruit and Nut Cakes. The baking has gone on, even if the blogging has not and I have one cake left to make in the chapter, which will probably be baked later today, depending on how exciting the cricket and athletics are. I should mention that I have left two cakes along the way, because they were clearly more suited to Christmas and that is a while a way yet: I shall return to them later.
Meanwhile, back to what I did actually bake; I started with a Pound Cake. This is apparently so-called because in Victorian times, when it originated, it was made with one-pound quantities of all the ingredients. This recipe was scaled down to half-pound quantities and Mrs Berry offers the explanation that cakes were larger then, well clearly. It did set me to musing that the tins must have been bigger too, in which case were they baked in bakers’ ovens rather than at home? I’m not sure the average domestic oven would be big enough. Anyway, it is a fairly standard fruit cake mixture with cherries, raisins and sultanas, as well as a spoon of brandy. I couldn’t find any brandy so used some indeterminate bottle that I found lingering at the back of the cupboard, schnapps of some sort maybe. It was a tasty cake and suitable for everyday.
Next up and in quick succession were the Crunchy Top Lemon Cake and then Double Orange Cake. The lemon cake is very similar to the Lemon Drizzle Cake I make regularly, but rather than warming the lemon juice and sugar to a syrup and then drizzling it into holes made in the top of the cake, one mixes the lemon juice and sugar and pours it straight over the cake. It’s obviously a little quicker to make and the sugar and juice then partly separate once more, creating a crunchy sugary top. For me, the extra effort in the Lemon Drizzle Cake is worth it for a more rounded cake.
The Double Orange cake is also a standard sponge, flavoured with orange zest. It is then topped, firstly with apricot jam and then an icing made with the orange juice, hence its ‘double’ tag, I guess. Mine should have been a Triple Orange Cake, because I didn’t have apricot jam so I used some orange marmalade (home-made) with the peel removed. It was a very tasty cake and perfect for a Sunday tea or similar.
Finally, keeping to the orange theme, I made Marmalade Cake. This is also a standard fruit cake mixture with cherries, sultanas and currants, as well as marmalade of course. There is more marmalade and let’s face it, you can never have too much marmalade, warmed and brushed over the top as a glaze. It was baked in a loaf tin and made a good weekday cake for the fruit cake lovers amongst us. It keeps well for a few days.
This mammoth piece of blogging leaves me with three cakes in the chapter, two of which I have already made, but it seems like the moment to leave them for next time. Thank you to anyone who is still with me and I will try not to leave it so long to next time.