At last, a chance to try a formal wedding cake. My nephew John is getting married in May, so the three months recommended maturing time for a traditional fruit cake means that now is the time to get started. I am making a small gluten- free cake to match their three tier normal version.
I have booked on a cake decorating course at Evesham College, which starts this evening. I need a seven inch cake for the course, so this weekend I made two seven inch cakes and two mini loaf cakes. The later - well, it would be stupid not to test the recipe, and Rod looked crestfallen when I suggested planning not having any batter unfortunately left over so no immediate consumption cakes.
I used the wedding cake recipe in my ancient Cordon Bleu book, Baking 1. It seemed a lot less interesting than the fruit cakes I normally make, but it turned out to be scrumptious. There is a tiny amount of cocoa powder in it and it makes the cake have a lovely warm flavour. I didn't photograph the batter but I will post pictures of my adventures in icing.
recipe for two seven inch round cakes - ancient book so in Imperial
1 lb sultanas
1 lb currants
11 oz raisins
3 oz glace cherries, halved
2 oz blanched and shredded almonds
3 oz candied peel
4 fl oz brandy - I used more as the fruit seemed dry
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1/3 nutmeg, grated
11 oz butter
1/3 tbsp cocoa
grated rind 1/3 lemon and orange
11 oz caster sugar
1/3 tbsp black treacle
15 oz flours: 8 oz almond
4 oz tapioca
4 oz urid lentil
1/2 tsp baking powder ( I added this as my mixer is dead so I didn't beat the butter and sugar until fluffy- figured this would add a touch of lightness to the batter)
soak fruit in brandy 24 hours, stirring occasionally
mix dry ingredients and stir one third into the fruit to coat. This is supposed to help keep the fruit evenly dispersed through the cake
cream butter until soft, add sugar and rind and beat until light and fluffy.
add treacle and eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.
Stir in half the remaining flour and stir
Add fruit and stir
Add rest of flour and mix until even.
Bake in tins which are lined with three or four layers of greaseproof paper to help the cake cook evenly. Smooth over the top, and then lightly smear the top with water. I use my fingers for this. This helps keep the top from burning on cakes that cook for a long time. If the top does seem to be getting too brown whilst the middle is under cooked put some layers of greaseproof paper over the top. As I have a fan oven these blow off, so I put a cooling rack on top to hold things in place. I didnt need this for these small cakes.
150 degrees C in a fan oven
The two seven inch tins I cooked for about two and a half hours . The two mini loaf testers I cooked for about forty minutes. Test with a skewer or knife to see that they are cooked through. Cool in the tins. Wrap and store for three months, soaking extra booze in every few weeks if wanted.
Eat the mini cakes with gusto straight away.