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A cake for Josh

To quote Josh “for generations families have handed down recipes, now we switch to handing down wordpress database backups” This cake was made often by my mother, and I have the recipe on a tatty bit of paper in her handwriting.  I am now handing it down in this new fangled way.

It is a perfect cake to have around as it isn’t overly sweet, and is wonderfully moist. If you are feeling indulgent a slice spread with butter is delicious, and it goes rather well with cherry jam too. It is good with a cup of tea, in a lunch box, and warmed in the microwave and covered in hot, creamy custard.

This cake also makes a lovely base for a trifle, mind you so does shop bought jam swiss roll, and you don’t have to make everything from scratch.

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Almond Loaf Cake
Print Recipe
This is a plain cake with no decoration or filling, it is however very moist because of the almonds. As usual use 30g for 1 oz.
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf 20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf 20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Almond Loaf Cake
Print Recipe
This is a plain cake with no decoration or filling, it is however very moist because of the almonds. As usual use 30g for 1 oz.
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf 20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf 20 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Ingredients
Servings: loaf
Instructions
  1. Line a 2lb loaf tin, and preheat oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3
  2. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and beat until smooth. This will only take 2 minutes with a hand mixer, a little longer with a wooden spoon.
  3. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth level. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden and well risen. Cool on a rack before storing in an airtight container. Leave for 24 hours before cutting.
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Christmas Cake

 

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I love a slice of Christmas cake with cheese on Christmas night, and the smell of the spice when it is cooking, so making one is an essential part of the preparations for me.

I have lost count of the number of rich fruit cake recipes that I have tried over the years considering that I also use the same type of recipe for celebration cakes. One of my favourites is an old Victorian recipe, however it needs making at least 3 months in advance and that isn’t always convenient. So today I am making a last minute recipe that will have matured beautifully by Christmas Day. It is also very simple to make and as much as I love cooking, we all have busy lives. It makes a more golden, less heavy cake than the long maturing recipes. I made this one today and it is on the cooling rack.

This recipe makes a 20cm square cake. I am going to cut it in half closer to Christmas and decorate one half with marzipan and sugar paste, and the other half will be left plain to eat with cheese.

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Christmas Cake
Print Recipe
This cake can be made with any dried fruit that you like as long as you have 600g in total. The recipe already contains glace cherries, and I don't recommend adding any more, but suitable dried fruits are sultanas, raisins, dried apricots, dried dates, dried sour cherries, dried cranberries, candied peel, and anything else you can think of. Personally I don't really like currants but they are suitable too.
Servings Prep Time
16 portions 1 hour
Cook Time
1.5 hours
Servings Prep Time
16 portions 1 hour
Cook Time
1.5 hours
Christmas Cake
Print Recipe
This cake can be made with any dried fruit that you like as long as you have 600g in total. The recipe already contains glace cherries, and I don't recommend adding any more, but suitable dried fruits are sultanas, raisins, dried apricots, dried dates, dried sour cherries, dried cranberries, candied peel, and anything else you can think of. Personally I don't really like currants but they are suitable too.
Servings Prep Time
16 portions 1 hour
Cook Time
1.5 hours
Servings Prep Time
16 portions 1 hour
Cook Time
1.5 hours
Ingredients
Servings: portions
Instructions
  1. Warm the whisky or alternative and mix with the dried fruit, and ginger. Leave to stand for 30 minutes whilst you carry on with the rest of the recipe. If you can do this the day before they will have time to get better acquainted.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160c/140c fan/320f/gas mark 3 Line a 20cm square tin. I wrap the outside with a double layer of brown paper so that the edges don't get overcooked before the middle is ready.
  3. Put all the ingredients except the steeped fruits and cherries into a large bowl. Beat with a mixer for 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth. You can do this with a wooden spoon but it will take a bit longer.
  4. Fold in the fruit and cherries, spoon into the prepared tin, and level. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour forty five minutes. When ready it will be golden brown, firm to the touch, and an inserted skewer will come out clean. Stand for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  5. Once completely cold wrap in baking paper and then foil to make a tight parcel, and store until you are ready to decorate or eat it. If you want to (and I do) you can unwrap a couple of times and feed with more spirit. Just add a couple of tbsp each time.
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Flapjack is not a pancake!

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Local names can cause much confusion, as proved by a most animated discussion with some lovely friends. It led me to make both on the same day so that I could post a picture on Twitter. I don’t want this to suggest that I am highly opinionated…..

If you are me, British, or from the Commonwealth, then a flapjack is a sweet tray bake made with oats. If you are American you are apparently more likely to use the term for a thick pancake eaten at breakfast time. I love both, however this division by a common language can lead to culinary disappointments, depending on the time of day.

So as they are so useful for snacks here is the recipe that I use for flapjacks.

 

Flapjack is not a pancake!
Print Recipe
A tray bake made from oats. Use a 30g measure for 1 ounce if you are more familiar with them. The basic recipe can be jazzed up with dried fruit. I like 2oz desiccated coconut with two oz sultanas heated in the pan with the butter mix. 2oz dried cherries or cranberries also work well.
Servings Prep Time
12 pieces 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes n/a n/a
Servings Prep Time
12 pieces 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes n/a n/a
Flapjack is not a pancake!
Print Recipe
A tray bake made from oats. Use a 30g measure for 1 ounce if you are more familiar with them. The basic recipe can be jazzed up with dried fruit. I like 2oz desiccated coconut with two oz sultanas heated in the pan with the butter mix. 2oz dried cherries or cranberries also work well.
Servings Prep Time
12 pieces 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes n/a n/a
Servings Prep Time
12 pieces 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes n/a n/a
Ingredients
Servings: pieces
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 190C/170C fan/375F/gas mark 5 Grease a tin no smaller that 8"8" and no larger than 9"x12" or the flapjack will be too deep or thin. I use the former so that it is not too biscuit like.
  2. Place butter, sugar, and syrup into a pan and heat gently until melted and smooth. Too high and it will burn.
  3. Take off the heat and add oats and flour. Stir well then press evenly into the tin. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden. It will firm up as it cools.
  4. Cut into portions while still warm. Store in an airtight container once completely cold.
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