Monday 25 January 2016

No eggs, low fat, reduced sugar.... it's Bachelor Cake

Here’s a cake for my friend Charlotte. She loves baking but can’t eat eggs. Help is at hand with this old recipe from Grandma’s collection. Bachelor Cake is egg free, low fat and reduced sugar cake, so it hits a few buttons into today’s healthy eating world. It works well with gluten free flour if you add extra liquid to the mixture. 
Bachelor Cake topped with almonds 
12oz/340g plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3 ozs/75g butter
12 oz/340g dried fruit
2 oz/50g sugar
2 tbsps marmalade
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 cups of milk (approx ½ pt/10 fl oz/275ml)
Almonds for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to  160-170C/Gas 3/325F. Grease and line  2 loaf tins or a 9inch x 9inch (23cms x 23cms) square tin with baking paper. Sieve the flour and spices into a bowl. Rub in the fat until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the dried fruit, sugar and marmalade and mix well. Stir the bicarbonate of soda into a cup of milk and add to the centre of the mixture. Add the 2nd cup of milk to make a dropping consistency. Beat thoroughly and transfer to the tin. Decorate the top with almonds if you wish. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 150C/Gas 2/300F for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out.

Meryl’s tips : The taste of this cake is excellent and improves over time.  It keeps very well in a tin for up to a week , if you can resist it before the week is over!
So what's the story? Bachelor Cake was originally intended for a young girl to bake to impress her young man (and maybe keep him fit and slim?). But you don’t need to be a Bachelor boy to enjoy it!

Monday 4 January 2016

Ring the changes with Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread Cake
It’s a tradition in Yorkshire to eat Parkin - a sort of Ginger cake with oatmeal on Bonfire Night in November - but we’re great fans of ginger at any time of year. Here’s an old recipe from Grandma’s collection with plenty of ginger to spice things up for the new year. Ring the changes with this easy recipe. 
Gingerbread Cake
4 oz/110g butter
4 oz/110g black treacle
4 oz/110g golden syrup
¼/150ml pint milk
2 eggs
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 oz/110g plain flour
4 oz/110g wholewheat flour
2 oz/50g soft light brown sugar
2 tsps mixed spice
3oz/75g ground ginger
2oz/50g chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat the oven to 300F, Mark 2, 160C. Grease and line an 8 inch/21cm square cake tin. Place the butter in a saucepan with the black treacle and golden syrup and heat gently until the butter has melted. Then take the pan from the heat and stir in the milk. Beat the eggs and add these to the mixture too. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, then stir the syrup liquid into the flour mixture. When it is smoothly blended, pour the mixture into the prepared tin and scatter the crystallised ginger pieces on top. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 ¼ -1 ½ hours or until the gingerbread begins to shrink away slightly from the sides of the tin and the centre is springy. Cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, cut into squares and store in a tin.
Meryl says : This is a moist cake and keeps beautifully. You can add 2oz/50g sultanas or raisins to the mixture.