Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cakes that Keep

Apart from rich fruit cakes, both Gingerbread and Parkin improve with keeping. So make these now for Bonfire Night, or make later in the month to wrap and save to serve at Xmas.
4 oz (100g) each margarine and brown sugar
2 eggs.
5 oz (150g) each golden syrup and treacle
8 oz (225g) plain flour
1 tsp each mixed spice and ground ginger
1/2 tsp bicarb. soda
2 tblsp milk
The easiest way to measure is to first weigh the sugar on the scales, then - leaving the sugar there , spoon the syrup and treacle on top to the required weight, finally add the margarine. The whole lot can then be tipped into a bowl, add the eggs and beat until thoroughly mixed. Sift the flour with the spices and fold this into the creamed mixture. Finally, stir the bicarb. into the milk and fold that in. Pour into a greased and lined tin and bake at 160C, 325F, Gas 3 for 1 hour then turn out the heat and continue baking for a further 15-30 minutes. until firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out and cool on a cake airer. When cold, wrap in greaseproof or parchment paper,overwrapping with foil and store for at least four days or pref. a week before slicing.
Tip: Add some finely diced preserved ginger to the mixture for those that like it.
A really good tip: If you have made stock sugar syrup (recipe in a previous posting) you can make your own ginger syrup by removing preserved ginger from its original jar, slicing it thinly and dividing it between several small (sterilized) jars. Also share the syrup it came in between the jars then top up with your own sugar syrup. Screw on lide and give the jars a shake and over the weeks the syrup will taste strongly of ginger. Lovely spooned over rhubarb or melon or ice-cream.

6 oz (175g) treacle,
4 oz (100g) muscavados sugar
5 oz (150g) margarine
6 oz (175g) plain flour
2 tsp. ground ginger and 1 tsp cinnamon
10 oz (275g) porridge oats or medium oatmeal
1 egg beaten into 5 fl oz milk with 1 tsp. bicarb.soda
As in above recipe, weigh the sugar first then add the treacle and the margarine. Tip into a pan and heat until dissolved. Remove from heat to cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile, into a bowl put the sifted flour and spices, then stir in the oats. Stir in the beaten egg mixture together with the treacle mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased and lined 7" cake tin and bake for approx. one hour at 180C, 350F, Gas 4 until firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for 15 mins. then turn out onto a cake airer. Wrap as above recipe and store for a week if possible before cutting.

Flapjack - uses no syrup!
6 oz (175g) butter or margarine, softened
8 oz (335g) porridge oats
6 oz (175g) soft brown sugar
pinch salt,
1 level tsp ground ginger
Beat the butter/marg. until light and creamy. Put the oats, sugar, salt and ginger into a bowl and mix well together. Add the butter and blend well into the mixture. Grease a Swiss roll tin and tip in the Flapjack mixture, pressing down evenly to fit the tin*. Bake for 25mins. at 180C, 350F, Gas 4. Remove from oven and leave in the tin to set firmly enough to mark into squares then remove using a fish slice and cool the squares on a cake airer. Store in an airtight tin.
Tip: *Use half a cut lemon to press down sticky mixtures into a tin. Alternatively cover mixture with cling film and smooth and press down. Remove film before baking.
A really good tip: You know how cling film clings more to itself than anything else? Well it behaves beautifully if you store it in the freezer. It then is not at all interested in itself, but will still cling to whatever you wish it to.