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Saturday, 17 November 2012

Amazing what you can pick up in hospital

Luckily not MRSA, but while I was doing what it said on the door and waiting in the waiting room, I was forced to pick up a magazine, something I do rarely. I loath all aspects of celeb culture and have no interest in their lives, so as ever turned to the recipe pages for want of something to read, and found this. It seemed to be an upside down cake which uses tinned peaches and golden syrup - to be fair, they had me on golden syrup!
 It also uses buttermilk, which is a great thing; a fermented yoghurt like stuff which is used in American and Ireland more than the UK but is amazing and should be used a lot more.

It has rising properties so makes cakes very successfully and if you like to make pancakes for your Sunday breakfast, especially the American style thick pancakes full of blueberries and dripping with syrup, then it's the ideal thing to make them with.
In case you can't read it, here's the ingredient list.

6 tbsp golden syrup (buy the squeezy bottle)
2 (though one was fine) can of peaches in juice.
150 g butter, melted.
150 g caster sugar
130 ml buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
175g self raising flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda.

Method -

First grease your tin, I used a 24 cm loose bottom tin. I thought it might leak, which it did, so I stood it on a baking tray. I'd be tempted to use a fixed bottom tin to avoid leaks but it might be hard to turn out when done.
Butter the tin well, you can brush with some of the melted butter, and then line the bottom with a disc of baking parchment and the sides with a long strip of baking parchment.
Drizzle some of the syrup into the bottom of the tin, I had some stem ginger in syrup so I used some of that syrup also because I love the ginger!;)
Then arrange your fruit in a nice, 1950's style fan, I would imagine any tinned fruit would work well, and you could even add cherries for a really kitsch feel!

Pour your butter into your mixer - if you have a big bowl you can use a hand mixer and on balance, next time I'll use my Bosch hand mixer as this is dead easy to do. Mix in your sugar, whisk for two mins or so, and then whisk in the two eggs.
Add the vanilla to your butter milk and then whisk that in next.
Sift the bicarb into the flour, then sift that into your mix - I took the bowl off the stand to do this and as you don't need to whisk again, this is why next time I'll use my Bosch hand mixer and a bowl for ease.
 Not sure why the pictures are on the side but never mind!

You then fold the flour in by hand, I used my trusty NEFF silicone spatula which is as good as a knife when it comes to folding yet better at scraping the bowl to ensure it's spotless.

Tip your mix over the fruit in the tin, pour slowly so you don't dislodge the fruit and spoil your lovely pattern. 
 Here it is ready to bake, the original recipe said 45 mins at 180 degrees, but mine was still a bit wet so I actually baked it for an hour.

Leave it to stand in the tin for about 5 mins then remove the paper from around the sides and place a serving plate on top of the tin. Count to three and then turn the tin over, keeping the plate in place to catch the cake - it will still be hot so take care, use oven gloves or wait until you can hold it comfortably. It should drop onto the plate. Un-clip and remove the tin and base and peel off the paper.
And there it is, drizzle with the rest of the syrup while its warm, though I didn't use all of it as I thought there was plenty, it looks lovely and can be eaten warm or cold and re-heats fine.

And, as part of my count down to Christmas, I've started the soaking of the fruits for the Christmas Cake, I'll be blogging about how I make mine in the week, but this is where I start.
I'm making a big batch so I can bake two or three cakes, I either use small tins or a big wedding cake tin and divide the cakes when cooked.
The choice of fruit is important, I find that I get the best results choosing fruit with plenty of tartness, the cake is always rich and heavy so a little bite really helps bring it to life.
Here is 2 1/2 pounds of fruit - sultanas (don't use currants, they are small and will over cook and go bitter in a long cook cake like this) - a cherry and berry mix, dried apricots ( do use them, they are divine in a fruit cake) cranberries, cherries, a little crystallized ginger and figs. With figs I hold the stalk and use kitchen scissors to snip them into small pieces, the stalks can be too tough in a cake.
Then add booze - this year I'm using a cup of run and two cups of dry sherry, and leave to soak for at least a week. If nothing else your kitchen smells lovely!

Next week, I'll make the cakes!

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