Monday, 10 September 2012

Cherry Bakewell Cake

Making cakes is my new BIG THING!!!

1. They're so easy to make
2. They look great and can be decorated to satisfy all your creative urges - even when they don't look professional, they still look delicious
3. Most people don't make them - so you look like a hero for presenting your home-made effort
4. They're great as a pre-made dessert for a dinner party - so that you spend more time with your friends and less time in the kitchen
5. They make your wife (oh, or husband) happy

Since I discovered the '6663' method of making cakes - you know 6oz of butter/sugar/flour, plus 3 eggs - I have started to spread my cake-making wings and now experiment with the ingredients. Today's recipe substitutes half of the flour for ground almonds, then I add a smidge of almond extract. Voila - a cherry bakewell sponge!

Cherry bakewell tarts are traditionally a sweet pastry case filled with frangipane and a layer of raspberry jam, then thickly iced and topped with a glace cherry.My cake is even better, I promise.

Just bake half the mixture in two separate pans, spread a thick layer of jam between them and allow a ton of icing to drip and harden, before going crazy with those luminous red cherries. When I served this cake recently, the gasps of admiration were audible - mainly from me actually. I do love my own cooking.

Anyway, the sponge was moist and delicious and not at all heavy from the ground almonds. Next time I'm going to try other ingredients in my cake batter. Orange flower water, rose water, elderflower cordial, vanilla extract, chocolate, peanut butter...

Makes 1 large cake (serves 6-8)


175g butter
175g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
75g plain flour
1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of almond extract
4-5 tablespoons of raspberry jam
100g icing sugar
12-16 glace whole cherries

Preheat the oven to 170c. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix the almonds, flour and baking powder together and quickly fold into the butter mixture with the almond extract. Transfer to two shallow, greased baking tins (approx 15-18cm diameter) and then bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden but not brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from the tins. Once quite cool, remove to a drying rack and spread the raspberry jam onto one sponge before topping with the other. Mix the icing sugar with enough water to form a thick paste and then dollop it onto the centre of the cake, allowing it to naturally spread and drip. Top with the cherries.

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