Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Birthday Cakes

This weekend was the birthdays weekend. one was mine, and one was for Rich. This meant there was a lot of cake. this was no bad thing.

The first cake was the one my mum made for me. it was a small cherry cake. this is my favourite type of cake. She used to send it to me through the post when i was at university. not anymore though - so it was a really grand treat for my birthday. i'm not sharing.
The cake from my mum

But i do believe cake is a good food to share and I was so lucky to also have another cake made for me from my good friend Eleanor. Very good friend indeed. This is the cake - it said on it EMILY HELLO. i liked that finishing touch. it was exciting because the cake meant everyone sang to me. i forgot what that felt like from last year.

the cake that eleanor made 

This was a sponge sandwich with raisins in the sponge and honey in the sandwich. it was such a delicious combination. also there were chocolate fingers around the edge - it looked so wonderful. She is a clever one that eleanor. Also in the background you can see the jam sandwich biscuits Debbie and Yumi made. they said they were too buttery, but i thought they were just grand! i liked all the baked goods. i hear there may be more of these for Latitude.

For Rich's birthday i made a marzipan ring cake. it was from the nigella lawson how to be a domestic goddess book. i like to be a good woman so that was a good place for me to find a recipe. this was called Easy Almond Cake, and looked quite sophisticated so i thought it was a winner - recently i have got myself into trouble with too much icing and sweets.

the cake from me to Rich (recycled candles!)

This was unlike most cakes as was very moist. the recipe is quite light on the dry ingredients. it was an all round success, except maybe i baked it a little too long so it was a bit dark in colour (the top was golden, but this became the bottom!) that didn't affect the taste though, and it looked a delight once dusted (coated) in icing sugar. i filled the ring with strawberries which was a perfect accompaniment.

This is the recipe for that cake... i would recommend it.

250g Butter (unsalted)
250g Marzipan
150g Caster Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Almond Essence
1/4 teaspoon of either Vanilla or Orange extract (Nigella says the zest of an orange, but this worked out nicely with the orange extract from a little bottle)
6 large eggs
150g Self raising flour

preheat your oven to 170 degrees.

First you will need to cream together the butter, marzipan and sugar until it is blended and smooth. this took me a lot of effort so is probably better if you have a machine to do it, but if you don't - have faith - it gets there in the end. And I had a few lumps of marzipan at the end, but it didn't matter in the end.

next add the almond essence and either vanilla or orange extract. (i used orange - you could tell in the finished cake and i think it was a good choice for a summer one) then stir in the eggs and flour. (do not worry that there doesn't seem to be much flour - i was worried i had written the recipe down wrong but it all worked out deliciously)

grease up a ring tin (they are quite expensive, but i think it was a good investment and it makes small fat wedges when you cut it - if you don't have one though, maybe a loaf tin would be a good alternative - and if you don't have one of those, maybe it doesn't matter all so much) and pour in the mixture.

Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, checking it from 40 (mine was probably done then but i left it for full time after some under baked mishaps in the past) let it cool for a bit in the tin before turning out. because of the butter to flour ration though, this slipped out no trouble.

then i just decorated with a dusting of icing sugar and filled the ring with fruit. you could try other alternatives - maybe some sugared almonds. nigella recommends apple sauce.

All in all this cake was very grand. i will definitely give it 10/10 because i liked the taste and the way it looked. I would give the other cakes here mentioned 10/10 as well. This was the grandest cake weekend ever!

That just reminded me - i have the leftover marzipan in the cupboard - ready for a sweet treat!

Yours older and fatter,

here is the official nigella recipe online in case i have missed some important information:

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