Thursday, 19 March 2015
The very best Marmalade Cake in town ...
Yesterday I made a cake. And, as a cake is a bit of a celebration over here at Talk-a-Lot Towers, I thought I'd better search around for something to celebrate. So having missed St. Pat's and Mother's Day it's a Vernal Equinox and Total Solar Eclipse Cake. How's that for something to celebrate?
Happy Vernal Equinox (on Friday) everyone!
The truth is this cake and I started out together about a week ago. We have history. Sad muppet that I am, I decided to make myself a Mother's Day Cake. The story gets even sadder as I put my experimental mixture into a cake tin that was way too small, which resulted in a cake explosion over the sides of the tin and all over the base of the oven. Then, not satisfied with the mess I'd made, I opened the oven door before the cake had finished rising, and the whole thing flopped. And then, when I finally extracted it I discovered that it was welded to the fancy cake mould, which, contrary to what it said on the label, really wasn't non-stick and ought to have been buttered like an oil-slick pre-launch.
It was cake-carnage, my friends. A great big tripple-whammy of a disaster.
Undaunted, and with a terrier-like determination that would put the Wonder Dog to shame, I tried it again the next day in a humble loaf tin. It was carefully greased and left in the oven for the requisite period of time without any curious door-opening to have a close-up on how the whole thing was getting along. And the result was pretty finger-licking good, even if I do say so myself.
Now the stealth ingredient here, which makes my cake just a little bit epic is the marmalade. It really is good. In fact, to state it plainly, if you like fragrant cardamon notes in your clementine orange marmalade, it's the marmalade of your dreams. You can check it out here: Cardamon and Clementine Marmalade. It carries those wonderful top notes of cardamon into the cake, and it really is worth getting fat for. If you don't want to faff around making my special super-duper taste-it-in-your-dreams marmalade you can just substitute a tasty alternative of your own. I won't be too prescriptive but do bear in mind that your choice is important: the bottom line is that this cake will only ever be as good as the marmalade you make it from.
Anyway if you'd like to get your chops round some special marmalade cake, here's my recipe:
150 g butter
150 g caster sugar
1 large clementine (You could use any other small orange that you can lay your hands on. Blood oranges are good but their season is so short. My favourite citrus fruit is the clementine so I tend to use those whenever I can.)
2 large eggs
75 g of truly superb marmalade
150 g self-raising flour
And some icing sugar to dust on top of the cake once you're done.
1. Heat the oven to 180ºC and line/ butter a smallish cake tin. For this recipe I have used a 1 1/2 pint Bundt pan. Alternatively you could use a 20cm x 11cm x 7cm loaf tin. If you're planning on using a Bundt pan make sure to grease it really well and sprinkle a dusting of flour on too for good measure.
2. Beat the butter and the sugar in the mixer until they are light and fluffy.
3. Whisk the eggs, and add them slowly to the mixture, a little at a time. Beat until they are uniformly mixed with the butter and the sugar.
4. Finely grate the skin of the clementine and add it to the mixture along with the marmalade. Mix until everything is uniform.
5. Fold in the flour. It's best to do this by hand with a big metal spoon. Keep going until all the flour has been absorbed without trace. It doesn't take very long so it's not too onerous to mix.
6. Spoon the mixture into the greased/ lined cake tin. Do not fill the cake tin to more than 3/4 of its depth, otherwise you risk a cake explosion over the sides, which is not pretty.
7. Bake for about 40 minutes in the oven, resisting all temptation to open the door and take a peek for the first 20 minutes or so. Check it after 35 minutes to see whether it's ready.
8. When it's done (a skewer, pushed in and then pulled back, should come out clean) take it out of the oven and leave it to cool.
9. When the cake has cooled dust the top with a sprinkling of icing sugar.
Enjoy in the sunshine after the excitement of the solar eclipse (fingers crossed) with a nice pot of tea.
All the best,