So I’m in a bit of a baking frenzy at the moment, working my way through that ever-growing list of recipes to try (of which many are from Mary Berry). Luckily I can also fundraise for a good cause with the delicious results. Two of my colleagues have paired up with friends to complete the Oxfam Trailwalkers challenge; a 100km walk over 48 hours with an aim to raise funds for Oxfam and the important work they do.
While I would not sign up to walk 100km myself, I do think it is an excellent cause and would like to help them out by doing my bit to raise donations. So this loaf cake is one of many treats my office will be enjoying over the next two weeks (in exchange for a donation). A simple cake, dotted with dried apricots, it is nonetheless delicious and something different from the standard current and sultana fruit cake.
This cake will overcook easily so be sure to keep a close eye on it, checking every 10 minutes or so (sooner when it is nearing done), as every oven is different.
Despite the inclusion of dates and walnuts, this traybake does not taste anything like a sticky date pudding. While to some that could be considered a disappointment, it has a rich nutty flavour all it’s own which pairs beautifully with a smooth coffee on a chilly winter morning. The dates give a lovely sweetness and the walnuts a pleasant crunch. This is a traybake even those who dislike dates will enjoy.
A lovely, soft and fluffy traybake, this is more like a sponge cake in a tray than the usual slice. The fruit gives a lovely moisture to the finished product. Despite using the best marmalade available (from my home-made batch no less!), I was unable to taste the marmalade in it at all. Mary Berry warns against an excess of marmalade, lest it cause the traybake to dip in the centre but thankfully that did not happen in my case.
This is a recipe from the archives, one from a large folder of clippings collected from newspapers and magazines over many years. According to the clipping, it was printed in The Age in 2005. Looking for something different to use up some overripe bananas, I found this recipe easy and delicious, although it did make a large number of dirty dishes!
While it travels well and keeps well, overall the cake is a little dense and dry near the crust due to the long cooking time. I will probably keep using my trusty banana bread recipes to make the most of un-eaten bananas.
I noted this recipe with excitement when I first bought How to Be a Domestic Goddess; I have fond memories of peeling chestnuts hot from the open fire as a child and savouring the effort and sore fingers with delight at the nutmeat within. The recipe calls for unsweetened chestnut puree; presumably a tinned substance available at specialty stores in the UK. I had no luck finding such a product here in Australia however I did recently come across a chestnut paste in the cluttered aisles of an Asian grocery store. Although it had sugar and soy flour in it, I decided to use it and give the cake a go; it was the closest thing I have found thus far.
The cake itself is almost brownie-like, with a dense, fudgy texture, despite the long cooking time and the worryingly large cracks that cross the surface of the cake. I was sorry to discover that I could not taste the chestnut paste at all, although this is likely to be due to the paste I used than the recipe itself. I hope this is the case as I will continue to look for a tin of unsweetened chestnut puree to give this cake another attempt. Despite this lack of chestnut flavour, the chocolate flavour was rich and deep, aided no doubt by the chestnut paste. If you are a chestnut fan anf you can find the elusive chestnut puree, do give this a go. It’s a lovely cake with a delicious texture; perfect for an indulgent dessert at the end of an elegant dinner.
If I am ever asked for a carrot cake recipe, I just have to share this recipe. This recipe was first published by Readers Digest.
I’ve recently started ordering fruit and vegetables from a supplier that delivers directly to my door. Each week, I receive a box of carrots. Having two bags of carrots in my fridge, presented the perfect opportunity to bake this cake for my sister’s birthday.