Sunday, 18 August 2013

Old reliables!

August is a crazy busy time at my work and we have to work some very long hours. Therefore, cake is a necessity to see us through! However, working long hours means that I haven’t had the time or energy to be creative or try anything new – definitely time to stick to making old reliables! 

One of my most reliable and best-loved recipes is my sticky ginger cake with lemon icing. I made three of these a couple of weekends ago and they all turned out beautifully. The fabulous thing about this cake is that it lasts at least two weeks, and even improves for being left to mature. The cake has a deep rich flavour and moist, sticky texture that is beautifully balanced by the sharp tanginess of the lemon icing.

Another of my favourite recipes is my Primrose Bakery lemon layer cake (made also here). This week, I decided to keep it really simple and just make a two layer cake (225g golden castor sugar, s-r flour and butter, 1.5 tsp baking powder, 25g cornflour, 4 large eggs, zest and juice of 2-3 lemons). I sandwiched the two layers with lemon curd, smothered the sides with lemon buttercream, filled the top with curd and then topped with buttercream piped stars around the top edge. Apologies – it was all a bit of a rush and I forgot to take a photo! This cake always tastes deliciously moist and zingy! 

Finally this week, I decided to make my Apple Amazing Cake – a cake that I have made loads of times but not for ages. It’s a fairly simple cake to make – as long as you remember that it will take about 3 hours to bake! It’s a mammoth of a cake, so great if you are baking for lots of people. I was a little disappointed with this cake this week – it just didn’t have the flavour that I remembered. It is quite a savoury cake – more like a light fruit cake. I’m not quite sure why it wasn’t right this time – could have been the apples – I’ve always made it with huge Bramley apples, but this time the shop only had fairly small measly apples and I wonder if they were lacking flavour. I also over-cooked the apples slightly, so that they were fully reduced to a mush, rather than having a few nice juicy lumps remaining. Think that I may need to give this another go in a few months when apples are at their best, to see if this recipe really is as good as I remember it to be!   

Rhubarb and marzipan crumble cake

Rhubarb and marzipan crumble cake on a cake stand
It’s been over a month since I last wrote a post! To be honest, I haven’t baked much until recently – I was away for much of July and the hot weather meant that it was just too hot to be stuck in the kitchen with the oven going! However, the gorgeous July weather also meant that my rhubarb kept on growing and I did need to bake something to use it up again!

Having not been particularly impressed with the rhubarb and custard cake I made last time, I decided to have a go at a different rhubarb recipe this time: rhubarb and marzipan crumble cake. I found this recipe recommended online and the only change that I made was the addition of the chopped hazelnuts. I love the crunch and the flavour that chopped hazelnuts give to the crumble mixture on my rhubarb crumble muffins and so decided that they would also be a great addition to this recipe.

This recipe is a definite hit! When making, there seemed to be an imbalance between the relatively small amount of cake, reasonable amount of rhubarb and huge amount of crumble, however, once baked, it turned out beautifully. The cake is deliciously moist and fairly tart and the crumble on top is crunchy and sweet. I took this cake into work and it went down a storm! Definitely one that I will be making again!

Update August 2014
Made this delicious cake again last week and I added 15 drops of Lakeland custard flavouring, which added a delicious sweetness to the cake. The cake took a very long time to cook and was very moist still in the middle. I think that the rhubarb gave out too much juice while cooking and so it would probably be a good idea to draw out some of the juices first. I have adapted the recipe below to suggest this. 

Rhubarb and marzipan crumble cake


    Slice of rhubarb and marzipan crumble cake
  1. 150g plain flour
  2. 125g butter
  3. 25g light muscovado sugar
  4. 40g chopped hazelnuts
  5. 100g marzipan, coarsely grated
  6. 100g golden caster sugar
  7. 2 free range medium eggs
  8. 1tsp baking powder
  9. 400g rhubarb, washed & sliced
  10. 15 drops custard flavouring (optional)
  11. Custard or clotted cream to serve


  1. Place the chopped rhubarb in a bowl and coat with 25g caster sugar. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 190C.
  3. Grease and base line a 20cm deep, loose bottomed cake tin.
  4. Prepare the crumble topping: sift half the flour into a bowl and rub in 50g of the butter. Stir in the muscovado sugar, hazelnuts and the marzipan, then set aside.
  5. Cream the remaining 75g butter with 75g of the caster sugar until pale.
  6. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  7. Sift in the remaining 75g flour with the baking powder and fold in quickly to form a soft batter.
  8. Spoon into the prepared cake tin, and spread level.
  9. Tip the rhubarb into a sieve to drain away any juices and then scatter the rhubarb onto the creamed mixture.
  10. Sprinkle the crumble on top to cover.
  11. Bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden and springy.
  12. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the tin.
  13. Serve slices warm or cold with custard or clotted cream.