Saturday, 11 June 2011

Birthday cake and updates

It was my dear Gran's 90th Birthday and wanting to do something special I decided to make her a cake. I based this on a traditional fruit cake, but left out the marzipan layer and just put some ready rolled icing on the top. I was quite impressed with my attempts at decorating and the fact the icing went on relatively flat. I cut out some flower shapes from the icing and stuck them to the cake with some marmalade (again we don't like the traditionally used apricot jam). Not bad for a first attempt I think, as the cake tasted great and I had a lot of nice comments from my gran and my work colleagues who were grateful for the fact my gran wanted me to share it round!

Makes 1 x 20cm cake

150g plain flour, sifted
50g self-raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1tsp nutmeg
100g ground almonds
3 medium eggs lightly beaten

Fruit mix
mixed bag - seedless raisins, sultanas, mixed cut peel 500g
200g ready to eat stones dates chopped
150g - 175g butter chopped
200g dark muscovado sugar
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp golden syrup
100ml orange juice or alcohol - brandy. whisky etc

Marmalade warmed
Ready rolled fondant icing - 1 pack

1. Preheat oven to 150, fan 130.
2. For the fruit mix put all the ingredients into a pan and heat gently, stirring occassionally until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Increase te heat, bring to the boil , then set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and line a 20cm round cake tin with non stick baking paper.
3. Put the flours, spices and ground almonds in a large bowl and stir in the cooled fruit mixture and eggs until combined. Tap the tin to remove any bubbles.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours or until golden and firm to the touch. To check if it's cooked insert a skewer to the centre. ( I found my cake took about 2 hours 25 minutes keeping a carefully eye on it!)
5. Turn the cake onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely before removing from tin.
6. At this stage you can ice/ decorate when the cake is completely cool or I left it till the following day.
7. Heat some marmalade and spread lightly over cake. I actually slightly levelled the cake to give a smooth finish.
8. Unroll the ready rolled icing and roll to about 1/4 inch thick . Place over cake and smooth down with your hands. (This may take a few attempts).
9. Cut off excess icing, - these can then be used to make shapes / decoration for the top mixed with a little food colouring.
10. Decorate as desired and enjoy - keeps well in greaseproof paper or a tin for about a week.

In other updates, I hope to start blogging more and showing some of the images I've been taking whilst doing my photography course which I'm really enjoying. I think my food photography is still leaving a lot to be desired, but hopefully with practise ! (I'm very envious of professional looking food photos and blogs! - it's something I aspire to!)
I'm also trying to play about with photoshop and making my blog and website more attractive in the weeks to come.
I welcome any comments along the way and would love to become more involved in the blogging community :)

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