Tuesday, May 18, 2010


You'll be wondering about the title of this entry. Well, it's the random letters I accidentally pressed when I was trying to brush flour off my keyboard. I liked the way it looked, so I kept it. And why do I have flour on my keyboard? Read on and I'll explain:

There's a whole chapter of fruit cakes I hadn't yet made a foray into. I was itching to get into it, but most of the recipes specify a 23cm round or 23cm square tin, neither of which I have. I've done the rounds of the shops, and found that while 23cm round tins are available, you can't get square ones larger than 20cm, and none of the tins you get are very deep. So I think I'm looking at a second-hand shop mission here.

Meanwhile, I found a fruit cake recipe that required only a 20cm square tin: sultana cake (p59). I was keen to try this, as I occasionally make sultana cake using my Oma's recipe, which is similar but not quite the same. I wondered how the Edmonds version would measure up.

The recipe begins in the same way as Oma's: put the sultanas in a pot with some water, and bring them to the boil. I had to simmer this for 15 minutes, so in the meantime I chopped up the butter (250g! That's half a block!) and pottered around getting a few other things ready. I popped into the spare room to turn on my computer, thinking that once the cake was in the oven, I could get on with writing about my Scotch eggs. As soon as the computer was on, however, a call came through on Skype: Bryn calling from Japan!

I was sitting there, happily chatting, when I heard the oven timer go bing! from the kitchen. Leaving Bryn hanging (not a problem, because I believe at the time he had his head in the fridge anyway) I ran to the kitchen, drained the sultanas and bunged the butter in the pot. Then I returned to the computer carrying the pot, and sat chatting while I stirred the melting butter through the sultanas.

This was soon achieved, and I made another rush trip to the kitchen, this time bringing back some flour, almond essence, and a bowl in which I had beaten up the eggs and sugar. The sultana mixture went in with the eggs and sugar, along with the almond essence. All this, by the way, happening under Bryn's interested gaze at my computer desk.

Next the flour went in. It was at this point that I held something up to show Bryn and got flour all over my keyboard. Never mind: keyboards are far more resilient than people give them credit for (my last one survived being thrown up on by the cat. FYI: not fun to clean up) so I just set my keyboard aside and continued mixing - carefully. The bowl was really quite full and I had my doubts as to whether the mix would fit in the tin.

It did fit, though, as I found in my next hurried visit to the kitchen, pouring the mixture into my ready-lined tin, and getting it into the oven. Now I could relax, and sit talking and vindictively licking the wooden spoon in front of an envious Bryn.

It wasn't till I got off Skype and glanced at the recipe again, that I re-read the bit about adding the dry ingredients. "Oops", I thought, "I should have sifted that flour. Why does it say 'dry ingredients'? It was only flo- Oh. Shit. Baking. Powder."

Despite the lack of baking powder, the cake was looking surprisingly good. It had risen pretty well - I guess the 3 eggs had a bit to do with that - and on the whole, was not looking like you'd expect a cake without baking powder to look. The cooking time was 1 - 1 1/4 hours, and after 1 hour 10 minutes, I decided it seemed cooked through.

Ten minutes later, when I took the cake out of the tin, it had a slightly damp-looking patch on the bottom, but otherwise seemed just fine. When it had cooled, I cut into it, and was surprised to find that it looked like a perfectly normal sultana cake. Another couple of slices into the cake, though, and it started to look a bit soggy and dense. In fact the whole center of the cake has a very moist, dense texture. Possibly it would have been better had I cooked the cake a little longer, but I suspect the main culprit to be the missing baking powder.

Even so, it's actually edible (though perhaps best served hot as a pudding with custard or something) which is more than you could really expect from a cake without any baking powder in it. I might have to have another go at this one, because it's hardly fair at this juncture to be comparing it with Oma's recipe!

One lesson that I really should have learnt by now: Pay attention, Robyn! More specifically: when you're cooking, don't let yourself get distracted by someone on the other side of the world.

Click here to see a second attempt at this recipe.


  1. What can one say really, it sounds rather like a blond, bad hair day.I bet Bryn has a good laugh though.c

  2. People on the other side of the world, eh. They're the worst.

  3. Haha... yeah, go on... blame me... ;)
    I have to say, it looked really good!! I was getting very hungry just looking at it. And you're right, it WOULD make a great pudding!!

  4. More a bad brain day than a bad hair day really.

    No, I'm not blaming you Bryn ... Much. I really should have put the cake-baking on hold while we were chatting. My multi-tasking skills clearly need a bit of work. And it DOES make good pudding!

  5. Pudding, now that sounds like dangerous country.c

  6. A+ for the title, D- for the cake.c


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