Chocolate Cherry Bakewell Loaf

It’s been a couple of months at least since I’ve been to a Clandestine Cake Club event.  I’ve been working full time and I haven’t baked much recently.  The Clandestine Cake Club’s VCake Events are a fantastic idea if you can’t get to an event but you still want to bake.  I love taking part in them and I baked a cake.  But unfortunately, I forgot to email my cake photos to the Club’s founder, Lynn Hill so my cake wasn’t included in the event write up.

The  event write up is featured on the Clandestine Cake Club website and the link is here  Magazines, Leaflets and Booklets 

The idea was that many people collect or stash recipes gleaned from magazines, leaflets and booklets. I do. I buy Good Food magazine and Delicious magazine but only get chance to cook recipes out of them sometimes.  I’m always picking up recipe leaflets and booklets but never seem to get round to cooking anything from them. This event was such a good idea to get you searching through those cake recipes you wish you had had chance to bake.  Funnily enough this month’s Good Food magazine came with a free cake recipe booklet to celebrate the magazine’s 300th issue! I’ve not been buying all of those, I was only 18 when the first issue of Good Food mag came out and as a sixth former cooking was the last thing I was interested in!

There were several recipes I wanted to try in the booklet but the one that I thought my whole family would eat was the Chocolate Cherry Bakewell Loaf.  All the flavours of a bakewell tart but in a loaf form and with chocolate as well.  Bound to be a hit!

Last Sunday I chose to bake this, along with some scones.  Mr SmartCookieSam was out at a Classic Car show and my two grown up children were at work. So it was me on my lonesome! Perfect opportunity to get my apron on and the scales out, especially as the weather has been so rubbish.

Recipe as featured in Good Food Magazine.

Cuts into 8-10 slices.

Ingredients:

200g softened butter

140g fresh, stoned and halved cherries *

140g plain flour

200g golden caster sugar

3 medium eggs

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

75g ground almonds

2 tbsp milk

1 tsp each of vanilla and almond extracts

200g dark or milk chocolate, chopped.

2 tbsp toasted, flaked almonds.

  • First, heat the oven to 160oC/ 140oC fan/ Gas Mark 3.  Line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment.  I swear by the ready made loaf tin liners readily available from shops like Lakeland.
  • Now to deal with the cherries.  If you are using fresh cherries, you need to wash, destone and half them first.  Then toss them in a tablespoonful of the flour from the quantity already weighed out.  If you are choosing to use glace cherries like I did, then thoroughly wash them to get the syrup off.  Then pat dry on a paper towel, halve them, rinse and dry again.  Then toss in a tablespoonful of flour.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.  When this is done, add the eggs one by one and mix well between each addition.
  • Fold in the rest of the flour, the baking powder and the ground almonds.
  • Stir in the milk, the two extracts and half of the chocolate.  Then add in the cherries.
  • Bake in the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes approx or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out on to a wire rack to cool down completely.
  • When the cake has cooled down, melt the remaining chocolate in the microwave and drizzle or pipe it on top of the cake.
  • Scatter on top with toasted, flaked almonds.
  • Wait for the chocolate on top to set a bit before slicing the cake.

Now as I’m always doing things in a hurry or have a zillion things on the go at once, I was a little bit disappointed to find my chocolate and cherries had sunk to the bottom of the cake.  I’ve made cherry cakes before which have remained in the middle.  So why not this one? I thoroughly rinsed and dried the cherries as well as tossing them in flour.  Maybe it was the rest of the cake mixture.  Didn’t spoil the taste of the cake though.  I also didn’t bother with adding toasted almond flakes to the top of the cake.

I demolished a slice of this gorgeous cake with a cup of tea on that Sunday afternoon while reading a magazine.  It had the almond flavour running through it and tasted just like a cherry bakewell cake should taste with the added dimension of dark chocolate.  Cherries and chocolate work so well together.  I will definitely make this cake again as my family really enjoyed it.  The remainder froze well, although the cake apparently does keep in a cake tin for up to four days.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Mary Berry’s Cherry Cake- Great British Bake Off Technical Challenge.

I’ve already been back at work for over two weeks now but for our school training day at the very beginning of the year we always have a shared lunch.  As I love baking I always bring in the pudding or some cake.  This time as normal I brought along some peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies and a cake.  The cake was one I’d been wanting to bake for a couple of weeks now, ever since it was the Technical Challenge in the first week of this year’s Great British Bake Off! So Mary’s Cherry Cake it had to be!

For the link to Mary’s own recipe you can find it here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/marys_cherry_cake_17869

In the Bake Off it was lovely to see the cakes baked in ring tins and I thought that one of my Nordicware Bundt pans would be perfect for the job.  My bundt pans are my new obsession and I can’t wait to add to the collection when I can afford it.  So I got out my heart shaped one, greased it carefully and got on with the baking.

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I carefully washed the cherries to get rid of all the sticky syrup and then dried them on some kitchen towels.

More often than not my cherries sink to the bottom of my cakes.  I try to rinse them carefully but I’ve since found out that taking a couple of tablespoonfuls of flour out of the total amount and tossing the cherries in it works well to stop the sinking.  I realised also if I needed to halve or quarter the cherries I should really rinse off the sticky syrup after cutting them as you end up with the stickiness on the inside too! Maybe that was another reason why my cherries sank!

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The quartered cherries now thoroughly rinsed and ready to go in the mixture.

All the other ingredients were simply weighed out and mixed together in one large bowl. Self raising flour, caster sugar, butter, eggs, along with a delicate flavour of grated lemon zest and a small amount of ground almonds.  I was pleased about that, almonds always go really well with cherries.

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Here’s the mixture spooned into my heart shaped tin and ready to be baked.

The cake was meant to stay in the oven for about 35-40 minutes.  I found this was ample time for the cake and thankfully it rose well inside my bundt tin.  I always feel nervous when turning out a cake from its tin, especially so with a shaped cake.  But I can honestly say I don’t have any trouble with Nordicware bundt pans so long as you spray the tin with Dr Oetker Cake Release first!

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The cake turned out onto the wire rack and ready to cool down.

While the cake was cooling it was time to make the icing.  I mixed up icing sugar and the juice of one lemon to make a glace icing.  I think my lemon made a lot of juice as the icing was very runny and I ended up having to add twice as much icing sugar than was asked to make the icing thick enough.  It was still runny though but I didn’t mind that as I wanted it to trickle down the sides of the heart in the grooves.  When I’d done this I added some halved cherries and some flaked almonds to decorate the top.  Hey presto, it was finished and ready to take along to work.

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The finished cake as seen from the top.
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View from the side.
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The cake was cut up into slices to enjoy for pudding at our school training day lunch.
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I was pleased with how the cake turned out.
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Whoohooo! Suspended cherries! Mary and Paul would be proud!

My cake went down well at the training day.  There wasn’t much left the next day, although I did manage to have a small slice myself.  I love cherry cake so I know I’ll be having another go at this in the future.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Scandelicious Baking- Toscakaka.

I don’t miss baking and eating cakes when I’m on holiday in places like Spain.  I think it’s because it’s far too hot to be thinking about eating cake and I’m not in my own kitchen.  Although the villas we usually stay at have pretty impressive kitchens I’m happier getting a salad ready, cooking something with pasta or warming up croissants!  But as soon as I’m back home, that’s it.  I want to be baking again and eating comfort food.  When we left Spain on Saturday morning it was 30oC, now as I type it’s 14oC.  No wonder I’m craving carbs!  Or maybe it’s the fault of The Great British Bake Off?

Once I was back from holiday and had to get stocked up again in our local Morrisons I thought of what we could have to go after our Sunday lunch pudding.  I didn’t have one single pudding on holiday, apart from a couple of ice creams.  I got out my Scandelicious Baking book which is part of my Cooking The Books Challenge from this month and decided on the Toscakaka.  Of course when I told my kids I was making Toscakaka they started laughing about the kaka bit and said it sounded like cack , I think caca is also French for poo which made them laugh even more when I told them that.  Though in this case I think it’s either Norwegian or Swedish for cake!

Toscakaka is actually a very delicious cake and I’ve been lucky enough to eat it at a local  Scandinavian cafe, called Baltzersens in Harrogate which serves the most yummy cakes.  The sponge base is a light vanilla sponge made with buttermilk and topped with an almond praline.  It isn’t overly sweet which I thought would appeal to my husband.

We ate our dinner quite late that day as a main meal, I couldn’t be bothered with a full roast or anything like that so I made up a lasagne with some salad for our mains followed by a slice of the Toscakaka.  Here’s how it was made:

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First I whisked eggs with sugar and vanilla extract. This had to be done by hand as my hand held mixer has broken.
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All the “dry ingredients” were mixed together in another bowl. In another bowl I was meant to add some buttermilk but Morrisons didn’t have any. I used creme fraiche instead!
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Making the almond praline- by heating butter, brown sugar, flaked almonds and milk in a pan until caramelised.
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The baked cake out of the oven and cooling down on the rack. I left the cake inside the tin as you have to put it back in the oven with the praline topping on it.
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The cake with the praline topping on it, it went back into the oven for about 10 minutes to cook.
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Here is the finished cake after it was turned out onto the cooling rack. Although the sides weren’t very neat it tasted fantastic.
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The flaked almonds look a bit lighter than the ones in the recipe’s picture but I was worried about them burning!
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A slice for me! My hubby had his with a dollop of creme fraiche on the side.
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Leftovers for another day.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Cherry and Almond Traybake from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.

I love baking traybakes.  They’re so useful as a little goes a long way if you need to bake for a coffee morning or a bake sale.  They’re great for when I have to do my turn for WI supper as they can easily be cut up into little fingers or squares so that everyone gets to have a little taste.

When I was thinking about what to bake from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible for this month’s Cooking The Books Challenge it was difficult to choose what to make out of the Traybakes and Flapjacks chapter.  All of the recipes looked so yummy but yet I wanted to try one I’d not baked before. I had lots of Glace Cherries and some almonds in my baking stash so it had to be the  Cherry And Almond Traybake.  Mary says “in season you can use fresh, stoned cherries instead of glace” but with it being April it had to be the glace option.

My daughter and her friend who were helping me in the kitchen on this day were on washing, drying and quartering the cherries duty.  I explained this would help them not to sink to the bottom of the cake but usually I toss them in a tablespoon of flour as well.  Mary doesn’t mention this in the recipe so I didn’t do it.

All the other ingredients (self raising flour, baking powder, softened butter, caster sugar, the grated rind of two lemons, ground almonds and five large eggs) were weighed and measured out into a large mixing bowl.  The mixture was then mixed thoroughly with my hand held mixer.  The glace cherries were then folded in carefully.

The glace cherries and lemon rind was ready to be folded in to the rest of the mixture.
The glace cherries and lemon rind was ready to be folded in to the rest of the mixture.
The cake mixture was spooned into my traybake tin and put into the oven to bake for about 30-40 minutes.
The cake mixture was spooned into my traybake tin and put into the oven to bake for about 30-40 minutes.
The traybake all finished  and just out of the oven.
The traybake all finished and just out of the oven.
Turned out of the tin and cooling on the wire rack.
Turned out of the tin and cooling on the wire rack.

I was pleased with the way the traybake turned out although many of the cherries had sunk to the bottom.  The traybake got nice compliments from some of the WI ladies and there were a few pieces left to take home.

Dusted with sugar and cut into squares to take along to my WI meeting.
Dusted with sugar and cut into squares to take along to my WI meeting.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx