Coconut and Cherry Sponge Cake- Mercers of Yorkshire Cherry Jam.

Cherry and Coconut Sponge, a twist on an old retro favourite from childhood.

 A couple of years back as family circumstances changed we stopped having our traditional Sunday lunch at lunchtime.  My daughter was out at work and would miss having a Sunday lunch and the chance for us all to sit down over a roast dinner.  So our Sunday meal got moved to the early evening once she was in from work.  Because we were eating late I stopped making a Sunday pudding.  I really miss making a pudding on a Sunday as we don’t usually indulge throughout the week. It just makes it a bit more special.  This last Sunday I really wanted to test out an idea I had for a Cherry and Coconut Sponge cake using some Red Cherry Jam I had picked up at the Good Food Show a couple of weeks back.  It was baked in a bit of a rush though.  I have been running around like a headless chicken this weekend trying to get all my jobs done as it is a busy time for me at work in my day job supply teaching. I don’t want to be ironing or cleaning bathrooms when I’ve got in from work during the week, so I’ve been trying to keep on top of things.

 

Baking this cake gave me a great opportunity to use some special products like my favourite. Sugar and Crumbs icing sugars.
 

It was 2pm and I’d only just got dressed!  That makes me sound like a right lazy slob but if I don’t have to go anywhere I stay and do all my housework in my PJ’s. I ironed, cleaned the bathrooms, hoovered and dusted upstairs and by 2pm I was ready for a cup of tea and a baking session.

To bake the Coconut and Cherry Sponge Cake I adapted Lynn Hill (Founder of The Clandestine Cake Club’s) own recipe from the first Clandestine Cake Club cookbook which was published back in 2013.  This cake was wonderfully retro, the sort you grew up eating or your granny baked.  I don’t remember my Nana Mary (my Mum’s mum) baking it, though I do remember her baking lemon cake and fruit cakes.

I started by greasing and lining two 8″ diameter loose bottomed sandwich tins.  Once this was done I then weighed out some softened butter and caster sugar. This was creamed together with my hand held electric whisk.  To this I added three free range eggs, one at a time and then some self raising flour. Lynn’s original recipe calls for using vanilla extract for flavouring, but instead I used a few drops of some natural coconut extract which comes from Lakeland.  To add to the coconut flavour I also added some dessiccated coconut. The mixture was then divided between the two cake tins and put in the oven, preheated to 160oC.  After about 25 minutes when the cakes were risen and sprung back when touched, out they came to cool on the worktop.

While the cakes had been cooking I thought about how I could decorate the cake. Lynn’s original recipe used a butter and cream cheese icing which sounded delicious along with a filling of jam.  I decided to use some of my Mercers of York Cherry jam which is absolutely delicious.  Instead of the butter and cream cheese icing which I couldn’t do anyway as I didn’t have the cream cheese, I whipped up a carton of cream and to this I added some Sugar and Crumbs Natural Flavour Coconut Icing Sugar.  I got this ready and decided to go out for a run.  I’m doing the Couch To 5K app at the moment as I’m entering the Race For Life in June so I’m trying to train when I can.  An hour later, I’m back home feeling a bit tired but ready to decorate the cake.

One top of one cake I spread about 6 tbsp jam and to the other I spread about half the coconut cream mixture. These were then sandwiched together. The rest of the cream was spread on the top of the cake with a dozen glace cherries spaced around the edge. To finish off, I sprinkled desiccated coconut on top of the cake.

 

A blast from the past.. a sponge topped with dessicated coconut. I chose to use cream instead of buttercream for my icing.
  

A coconut flavour sponge, layered with cherry jam and coconut cream.

Even though the cake was meant to be a Sunday dessert treat we were far too full to eat it.  So at the time of typing it is in a box in my fridge waiting to be eaten throughout the course of the week. 

 

A perfect Sunday afternoon treat.
 

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx

Sticky Lemon Loaf Bundt Cake

Here is all about a cake I baked several weeks ago back at the end of February but forgot to blog all about it.  I was due to go along to the Pudsey and West Leeds Clandestine Cake Club event which was in Horsforth.  The theme for that month’s event was “Now That’s What I Call the 1980s”.

Being a 1980’s teenager I was inspired to bake and create a showstopper cake.  I thought back to all the pop groups I loved, the food we ate and what was in fashion at the time.  But all this was going to take up a lot of my time which i didn’t have much of during that week.  So something simple had to be found quickly!  Though a chocolate Rubik’s Cube cake would have been a fab idea if I’d had the time!

I phoned my mum and she thought of Pineapple Upside Down Cake which she remembered baking. Most of the things my mum and my Nana Mary (my Mum’s mum) baked were traditional things and not necessarily linked to the 1980s.  Nana’s fruitcake was legendary as she used to leave it in the oven for too long so it dried out.  Bless her.  I don’t think she ever realised that we served her fruitcakes with custard to add some moisture!

Nana and I had lots of things in common in that we both loved cooking and baking as well as sewing and knitting.  When I was 9, back in 1981 I remember Nana looking out a few recipe books for me to help me get into baking.  One was a Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup book which I still have to this day.  Along with some of her other recipe books which I inherited after she died, I treasure them.

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The Golden Syrup Cookery Book which my Nana gave to me when I was 9.

So, after lots of recipe browsing I had to bake something from of one of my Nana’s 1980’s cookbooks and the Golden Syrup one was perfect.  Not too many faffy, over fussy and complicated recipes and one I could adapt to bake with one of my Nordicware Bundt pans.  I settled for a gorgeous Sticky Lemon Loaf recipe as I remember my Nana baking lemon cake and also making delicious lemon marmalade.  Whether this was the recipe she used, I don’t know but I wanted to try it.

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A few weeks back I treated myself to two new Nordicware Bundt Loaf pans- a lemon loaf one and a gingerbread man one.

To bake the lemon loaf cake I was thankful that my scales can convert to imperial measurements as my Nana’s book showed all the quantities in pounds and ounces.  This didn’t worry me as I don’t mind what measurements I use.  I greased my new Nordicware lemon loaf bundt pan and dusted it with a sprinkling of flour.

In a bowl I sieved in 40z of self raising flour then into a medium saucepan I melted together 20z margarine, 2 oz caster sugar and 4oz of golden syrup.  Once this had melted and then come off the heat to cool down a little I mixed together 1 large egg and 2 tbsp milk in a small jug. This was then combined and mixed together with the syrup mixture.  To give the cake its lemon flavour I grated in the zest of a large lemon.  Finally in went the flour and the mixture was beaten until smooth. The mixture was poured into the loaf pan and then baked in my oven for about 160oC.  The recipe gave the oven temperature in Farenheit, my 0ven indicator only shows Celsius so I guessed!

The loaf cake stayed in the oven for about 25 minutes to half an hour.  It was a Monday morning when I baked the cake and I needed it that night for the club.  I was teaching that afternoon at a school over half an hour’s driving distance away and was panicking I would not have time to get myself sorted out and put on some sort of glaze on top of the cake to make it look spectacular. When it came out of the oven it looked a lot darker than I was expecting and I hoped it would look better with some sugar syrup on it to show off the lemon decorations of the loaf pan.

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The cake came out of the oven looking a lot darker than expected!

Almost straightaway I made up a sugar syrup using freshly squeezed lemon juice and caster sugar.  This was then poured onto the cooling cake and brushed over the top of the lemon pattern carefully so that it would be even.  It melted into the cake and was left to cool while I was out at work in the afternoon.

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I loved the lemon details on the loaf pan and was so glad that the cake came out intact!
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To “lift” the cake a bit and make it more like a lemon drizzle cake I added a lemon sugar syrup to it. It made the cake very sticky and moist.

Against all the other cakes at Cake Club this month mine looked very plain and boring but I was glad it tasted ok. There were lots of delicious cakes to try this time: from a delicious Pac Man cake to a gorgeous Blueberry Ripple Bundt cake as well as a very scrummy Marathon (not Snickers!) cheesecake!

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Just some of the delicious cakes at Pudsey and West Leeds Clandestine Cake Club event “Now That’s What I Call The 1980s”.

My friend Sharon used her gingerbread man bundt pan to bake Wham! in cake complete with Choose Life t-shirts!  I was a Wham! fan back in the day so it was great to think we were eating George Michael’s arm or Andrew Ridgeley’s leg!

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George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley in cake form!

To read about the Clandestine Cake Club event you can find out more about it here:

https://humbugshouse.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/clandestine-cake-club-february-2015-now-thats-what-i-call-the-80s/

To find out more about the fun we have at Clandestine Cake Clubs in the UK and all over the world:

http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk/

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx