Friday, February 11, 2011

Reading Between the Lines

Tomorrow there will be more cookery tips, so hope you will all join me again and 'have a good read'. My final task today is to give a few more additions to the 'Rich Cake Mix' given yesterday:

Chocolate Cake:
half quantity Rich Cake Mixture (given in yesterday' blog)
2 level tblsp cocoa
2 level tblsp golden syrup
2 tblsp milk
1 level tblsp granulated sugar
Put cocoa, syrup and milk into a small pan and heat gently until it boils, by which time it will have thickened. Remove from heat and stir until cold (speed up cooling by standing pan in bowl of cold water).
Whee the cocoa mixture has cooled down, and using a metal spoon, cut his into the Rich Cake batter. then spoon into a greased, deep 6" cake tin, lined with a double thickness of greaseproof paper or baking parchment which should also be greased. Then sprinkle the sugar over the top of the cake batter.
Bake in the centre of the oven set at 170C, 325F, gas 3 for about an hour and a half, checking to see if cooked by pressing the top lightly with the fingers. When cooked it should spring back, and the cake also begun to shrink from sides of tin. Leave to cool in tin for 15 minutes before turning out, removing paper and cooling on a cake airer.

Fruit Cake:
half quantity of Rich Cake Mix
3 oz (75g) chopped dates
3 oz (75g) sultanas
1 oz (25g) custard powder
2 tblsp milk
1 level tblsp granulated sugar
Fold the dates, sultanas, custard powder and milk into the Rich Cake Mix by 'cutting' them through using a wooden spoon (in other words, don't beat them in).
Spoon mixture into a greased, deep 7" cake tin, lined with a double thickness of baking parchment, also greased. Level the surface and sprinkle with the sugar.
Bake on lowest shelf of oven (same temperature as above) for one and a half - one and three-quarter hours - again giving the 'press finger' test to make sure it is cooked through. Cool in tin for 15 minutes before turning out. Remove paper and cool on a cake airer.

Keeping both yesterday's and today's recipes together, and if reading them through, you will have noticed that in all cases the oven temperature is the same for all, although the position in the oven may differ according to the recipe. Also the timings will be different. Those who use a fan oven will probably find the cakes can be cooked on any shelf, with a slight adjustment of temperature (normally the next temp. mark lower when using a fan oven than one without).

Final tip for today: All ovens vary and I have to admit that when following many of Delia Smith's recipes, my cakes need a lot less cooking time that she states. Yet my oven thermometer shows the temperature is what the recipe says.
Most of us (eventually) get used to our own oven, and able to adjust the temperature if needed. Often a guide to whether a cake is cooked comes more from the lovely smell in the kitchen, than following the timings given. One I can smell what is baking then start to begin checking. If unsure whether a cake is cooked (some fruit cakes are not that easy to gauge), then always worth buying a 'cake-testing stick' - this when stuck into the middle of a cake will show (by change of colour of tip) whether the cake is done or not. The stick is re-usable. Lakeland sell these and they are not expensive - I certainly wouldn't be without mine.

Keep those lovely comments coming, and I look forward to being with you again tomorrow. See you then.