Friday, 20 July 2012

Moving Home Cherry Cake.

Apparently, when someone moves house, you’re meant to give them salt as a ‘new home’ gift; something about Slavic traditions and Jewish blessings. The thing is though, when you’re moving, even when you’ve moved, it usually takes a good long while before you can even see your new kitchen surfaces let alone know where your pot and pans are. And so you probably won’t be roasting potatoes or frying eggs or eating anything that requires your salt grinder to be freshly filled with any great hurry.

So when I knew I was soon to be off on a trip to stay with a lovely friend of mine, who had not only been moving but working crazy hard in the first busybusy weeks of an exciting new job, in her brand new flat, I knew salt wouldn’t reeeeally be an appropriate prez.

Cake though, cake would be welcome. The sight of a homemade cake sitting in an unfamiliar kitchen would add comfort. A substantial picnic style cake that keeps well and is low in sugar enough to act as dinner in fraught circumstances, could really be of some use. And so it was. And so it did.

So if you know someone who’s moving, or you get a new neighbour, maybe give the salt a miss and bake this cherry cake. The attributes; sturdy, filling and not too sweet, which make it perfect for picnics are the very same that make it THE ‘new home’ cake. And even if you don’t have that excuse, bake it anyway, it really is a treat. With Love and Cake.

Cherry Cake.
From Jane Brocket's wonderful book Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer.

A few notes:
  • The almond essence adds a touch of marzipanny-ness about the cake which, if you're a normal sane person, you will love. If you're a non-normal, non-sane person who doesn't favor marzipan, just leave out.
  • When this is a bit stale, it would be divine toasted and spread with a bit too much butter.
Makes 1 large loaf cake
You will need

1 loaf tin, around 23x13x7cm, greased and lined

225g self raising flour
100g ground almonds
zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
275g glacé cherries
225g butter, at room temperature
225g caster sugar
3 eggs
a few drops of almond essence (optional)
2 tbsp milk

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c.
  • Sift the flour and combine with the almonds and lemon zest.
  • Pop the cherries in the sieve and rinse them with cool water so all the sticky syrup gets washed off.
  • Give the cherries a good dry with kitchen paper and cut them in half.
  • Add them to the flour mixture and stir around so they each get a floury coating.
  • In a large, bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy looking and then beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the almond essence.
  • Fold the flour into the eggy bowl until everything is well combined and the cherries are evenly distributed.
  • Pour the mixture into your loaf tin and pop in the oven. Set the timer for 45 minutes, at which point the cake won't be cooked but you need to check if the top is browning too quickly and at risk of burning. If that is the case wrap the top of the cake in foil and pop back in the oven for 15-20 minutes. It's done when the top is golden and the centre is firm when you push down on it lightly.
  • Leave to cool for a good while in the loaf tin; at least 15 minutes, and then turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Hand over to your kitchen-less chum if you can bring yourself to part with it....maybe make 2.

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