Monday, 8 April 2013

make it monday : jam cake

I know, I know, it doesn't sound particularly appealing, but seriously, you have to give it a try.

The ingredients are simple, but you have to (pretty minimally) use your head for the weights ~ just scribble the number down and you'll be fine.  Trust me.  You're going to need eggs, plain flour, sugar, baking powder (2 tsp), bicarbonate of soda (½tsp), vanilla flavouring/essence/extract/paste and jam ~ the runnier the better for the jam.  I used blueberry apple jam, which bring a bit of colour to the cake, but you could use lemon curd instead ~ just go with what you like.  The amount of jam you'll use is kind of up to you ~ as a guide I'd say around 8tbsp {tbsp = tablespoons} for the bigger cake, half for the smaller, if the jam is quite solid, more if the jam is so runny that your spoonfuls end up level every time!

Before you start, make sure you've got everything to hand that you'll need ~ take the marg out of the fridge (and eggs, if you keep them in the fridge, although I'm sure I've read you're not meant to), turn the oven on ~ 180°c fan oven, 190°c or your equivalent.

Weigh three eggs.  Take away 15g, and the amount you have left is the amount you need of each other main ingredient ~ plain flour, marg, and sugar.  As long as your amount is around 200g, this will give you two loaf cakes, one small (450g/1 lb) and one large (900g/2 lb).  If your weights are closer to 150g (smaller eggs), it might be best to add another egg, and then take off 20g instead of 15g (for the shells).  Still with me?

Once you've weighed out the right amount of flour, sieve it from one bowl into another, along with the baking powder and sodium bicarb.  This gets rid of any lumps, mixes the raising agents evenly with the flour, and traps a little air (which will help the cake rise during cooking).

Cream the marg and sugar in a bowl ~ I use a free~standing mixer  so I can get on with something else while it's creaming.  Usually making myself a cup of tea.  Gotta get those priorities right...

As more air is beaten in, the mixture becomes more pale and soft ~ check out the pictures if you're not sure what you're aiming for.  Basically, you can leave this creaming as long as you like, you can't over cream it.

Vanilla ~ I love it.  I use vanilla bean paste, 1 tsp for this recipe.  Vanilla flavouring or essence (artificial flavourings) use 2tsp, extract ~ use 1½tsp.

I get this from Lakeland, and it's amazing.  If you look closely at the picture above, you'll be able to see the hundreds of teeny tiny vanilla seeds in the paste.  I know it might look expensive compared to supermarket vanilla, but as well as looking posh it smells great and has a really strong flavour, so you really don't use much at a time.

Keep the mixer going, and add your eggs, one at a time, with a tablespoon of flour in between each egg.  Don't worry if the mixture goes kind of 'bitty', it'll sort itself out in a minute.  After the eggs, keep mixing in the rest of the flour mixture til it's smooth.

Jam time . . . add a couple of generous  tablespoons of jam, mixing in briefly.

I use liners (Lakeland again ~ I swear I'm not on commission!) for the tins as they make it much easier to get the cake out of the tin, and then store ~ soggy bottomed cakes are notoriously tricky for that!  Dollop a couple of spoonfuls in the liner, mostly round the edges as you see in the picture.

Spoon jam into the middle ~ now is not the time to be stingy!  This was homemade jam which was a little on the runny side which made it tricky for toast, but perfect for this.  As the cake cooks the jam gets absorbed, making the cake moist and . . . well . . . jammy.  If the jam has pieces of fruit in they will all sink to the bottom of the cake, making it even more soggy bottomed.

Put a layer of cake mix over the top, smooth it over, and put it in the oven.  Repeat for your second loaf cake.

They will need between 20 and 30 minutes in the oven ~ the smaller one less than the larger, unsurprisingly!  You can't check by poking it with a skewer, because it will remain soft inside ~ you'll just hit jam!  Before it's ready if you gently shake or tip  the tin you'll see it wobble ~ once it's steady, it's ready.  Oooh, look at me, rhyming and cooking, next stop Blue Peter!

So, here's one I made earlier!
  I've shown you mine, so now it's your turn to show me yours ~ I'd love to see a picture and hear how yours turned out, so here's my buttons (I think...)

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