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

Venetian Zabaglione Cake from Delia’s Cakes.

For the final recipe in my May Cooking The Books Challenge I had to bake something from the Dessert Cakes chapter of Delia’s Cakes.  I looked at all the recipes and wanted something different, something I’d not tried before.  I kept going back to the Venetian Zabaglione Cake, a recipe I’d originally seen back in Delia’s How To Cook Book Three.  This was also to be my fourth and final contribution to the Afternoon Teas down at the Village Hall in my village Open Gardens.

 Delia says the cake is “my adaptation of a cake still served in the famous Harry’s Bar in Venice.  You can eat it sipping a Bellini cocktail or with coffee at any time of day.”  Nearly two years ago I was lucky to go to Venice and the Italian Lakes for my 40th birthday treat.  It was so busy that we didn’t go to Harry’s Bar so I never got to sip Bellinis there but I did enjoy a lovely pistachio ice cream from a back street gelateria.  It was delicious.  But I did enjoy a Bellini on a cafe terrace overlooking the beautiful Lake Como.  Since then I’ve never had another Bellini but the memory of that perfect day stays with me all the time!

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St Mark’s Square in Venice.
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My Bellini cocktail with olives and other nibbles on the side.

So the cake sounded perfect to me, except for one thing.  It needed Marsala wine in it and I hadn’t got any.  Ages ago I’d bought some to make a tiramisu with, put the remainder in our drinks cabinet.  But it ended up being used in other recipes and I wasn’t going to spend loads of money on something I wouldn’t need.  Instead I added another Italian liqueur to the recipe, some Amaretto which was extremely strong but tasted fab.

The Zabaglione filling had to be made first and this is how it was started off:

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Egg yolks were whisked together, then some sugar was added to the mix.
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Then I added to the egg yolks, some flour and the Amaretto and kept whisking.

The mixture was added to a saucepan and heated.  I kept on stirring this until it thickened and then transferred it to a dish to cool and set a little.  This was a bit like making a custard. I then popped it into the fridge while I baked the actual cake.

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Here is the zabaglione mixture in the dish ready to be popped into the fridge.

The cake itself was an all in one vanilla sponge.  At this time my phone was on charge so I didn’t take any pictures.  It was baked in a 20cm/ 8″ diameter deep and round tin and then cut in half horizontally.  This was then left for a couple of hours until the filling and icing was ready to use.

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Out came the filling when the cake was ready to decorate. I whipped up the original filling with some double cream.

To decorate the cake, a generous portion was put on top of one half of the cake, the other cake was put on top of it and then I added it to the top and sides.  I didn’t read the recipe properly and wondered why there wasn’t enough icing left to decorate the cake.  According to the recipe, the remainder just goes on the side of the cake and the top is dusted with icing sugar.  I ignored this and spread the icing all over the top as well. No wonder you could see bare cake through the thin layer!

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The result, a bit messy but I hoped it would taste fine in the end.

I must admit I had serious doubts about this cake, the Amaretto was very strong and I was worried about whether people would like the taste or enjoy it in the hot weather.  I did put a warning note next to the cake about the alcohol content but when I went down to the Village Hall I didn’t see the cake on display.  My hubby said he had seen it out earlier on that day, does that mean it had gone?  I don’t know.  All I hope if it was served was that people enjoyed it!

I did like baking the Zabaglione Cake although it was very fiddly and it would be great to try it with the Marsala in, as it should have been made.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx