For a barbeque at the weekend myself and Sarah had a vintage cake bake-off. The rules – bake an individual cake (ie no cupcakes) from a vintage recipe, release both cakes simultaneously on the BBQ attendees, and the first cake to be finished wins. Sarah has already written hers up here, and I must congratulate her as the bake-off winner as her cake was polished off fastest. I feel compelled to point out that her cake was smaller than mine, and next time we might have to think a bit harder about the rules! (nb – am not bitter).
The cake I chose to make was a Cherry Cobblestone Cake, from my current favourite recipe resource, the Alison Burt Super Saving Recipe Cards (note to self – use other recipe books).
Cherry Cobblestone Cake
175g soft margarine
175g castor sugar
75g glacé cherries, chopped
25g angelica, chopped
225g plain flour
1/2 level tspn baking powder
50g glacé cherries
3 tablespoons apricot jam
Grease a 2lb/ 1kg loaf tin and line it with greaseproof paper. Place the margarine, sugar, eggs, sultanas, glacé cherries and angelica in a mixing bowl. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl. Beat together with a wooden spoon for 3-4 minutes until well mixed. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Smooth the top. Place the halved glacé cherries in rows along the top. Bake in a moderate slow oven (325°F/ 170°C/ Mark 3) for 1.5-1.75 hours. Turn the cake out of the tin onto a wire rack to cool. Heat the apricot jam in a saucepan and when boiling sieve it. Brush the jam over the cake.
- I had a bit of a cooker mishap and heat was on 220°C for about half an hour before I rectified this. This meant the cake was a bit browner than intended and rather hard generally.
- It’s an incredibly simple method – chuck it all in the bowl and mix for a bit. I didn’t even use the food processor. Ideal for kid’s baking sessions.
- I couldn’t find any angelica, so I have cheated and substituted mixed peel which worked fine, but didn’t look as good as some nice green chunks of angelica would have.
- I think my scales didn’t weigh the flour properly – I suspect I used a little too much, which contributed to the denseness of the finished ‘brick’.
- I was somewhat apprehensive about boiling the jam - when I worked as a cake finisher* my weakness was putting huge vats of jam on to boil and forgetting them until reminded by the acrid smell of 5 litres of burnt jam.
- Although the recipe calls for 125g of glacé cherries overall I used up a 200g tub, and could have done with a few more to decorate the top.
The cake was actually rather nice, despite the slight overcooking, which was much less noticible once the thing was cut. The sponge was a lovely pale orange, and the fruit: sponge ratio was good. The cooked cherries on the top, which I was kind of dubious about at first were really nice, and the apricot jam glaze gave it an added chewiness, in a good way. This is the first Alison Burt card I’ve done where I’ve been happy with the result, and I would cook this again, this time making sure the oven was on the right setting! Plus it’s an ideal shape, size and firmness to withstand transporting on public transport all the way across London.
*best. job. title. ever
Cobbled together by Alix