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Comfort Food #15: Cherry Cake

 

This Comfort Food post is a little bit of a strange choice for me because although I love cake, I am not a fan of cherry cake because of the glacè cherries in it. But nonetheless it does bring back memories for me of my childhood Christmases – which makes me think that perhaps this post would have better suited to December – but watching Mary Berry show viewers how to make the perfect cherry cake has inspired me. So cherry cake it is!

 

Courtesy of RitaE @pixabay.com

 

A cherry cake is traditionally a sponge cake that contains halved or quartered (usually) red glace cherries, which is then topped with icing, flaked almonds and more glacè cherries. Even though a freshly baked cherry cake is not my idea of bliss due to the use of ghastly glacè cherries, they most definitely do take me back to childhood Christmases back in the 1980s. When my sister and I were younger – before we were joined by our two other siblings – Mum used to bake an array of baked goodies every Christmas. In fact she used to bake so much, there must have been more than enough for the entire neighbourhood! Of course one of these bakes included cherry cake which was one of Mum’s favourites.

 

 

Even though I’ve disliked glace cherries since I was a very young child, I did like Mum’s cakes, so I would always have a slice – and just picked out the cherries. But what was most memorable about these cakes was that, we always had a slice of cherry cake after we got home from midnight mass. So cherry cake – offending glace cherries or not – always bring back happy memories of Christmas, midnight mass, and Mum’s large-scale baking!

 

Courtesy of pixabay.com

 

But even though I have mixed feelings about cherry cake, I know that most people, like Mum, absolutely love it! It is a very old-fashioned, very traditional English cake which I’ve been told is usually linked to Easter, rather than Christmas. It’s a very versatile cake and fits the bill for just about everything: picnics, afternoon tea, lunch boxes, bake sales and it is the mainstay of traditional tearooms, not to mention one of the most popular cakes to be baked among the Women’s Institute. And although it may sound simple to make, quite often it isn’t as the cherries are notorious for sinking to the bottom of the cake. However people have their own methods for preventing this from happening. One of them being to rinse of the sticky syrup from the cherries before dusting them with flour. Delia Smith believes n mixing two-thirds of the cherries into the cake mixture before poking the remaining third through the top of the cake just before it goes into the oven.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I do love cherries just not glace cherries. But I’m wondering if I can substitute the glace cherries in the cake for dried, fresh or tinned cherries. I’d definitely have no problems with eating it then! But despite my reservations regarding cherry cake, nothing can take away the fact that cherry cake is a very memorable part of my childhood and evokes memories of Christmases gone by…

So here’s a recipe for cherry cake from Mary Berry for a traditional cherry cake. Try it and enjoy!

 

Ingredients

200g/7oz glacé cherries
225g/8oz self-raising flour
175g/6oz softened butter, plus extra for greasing
175g/6oz caster sugar
1 lemon, finely grated zest only
50g/1¾oz ground almonds
3 large free-range eggs
For the decoration
175g/6oz icing sugar
1 lemon, juice only
15g/½oz flaked almonds, toasted
5 glacé cherries, quartered

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Grease a 23cm/9in bundt tin or savarin mould with butter.
  3. Cut the cherries into quarters.
  4. Set aside five of the quartered cherries for the decoration later.
  5. Put the rest of the quartered cherries in a sieve and rinse under running water.
  6. Drain well then dry thoroughly on kitchen paper and toss in two tablespoons of the flour.
  7. Measure all the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for two minutes to mix thoroughly.
  8. Lightly fold in the cherries.
  9. Turn into the prepared tin.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until well risen, golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  11. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
  12. For the icing, mix the icing sugar together with the lemon juice to a thick paste.
  13. Drizzle over the cooled cake using the back of a spoon, sprinkle over the toasted almonds and reserved cherries.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 26, 2014 in Nostalgia Tastes Like This!, Recipes

 

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Kinder Surprise: The Hidden Surprise Heston Did Not Think Of!

 

It’s Easter – a time for all things chocolate and egg-shaped! As there were four of us kids when we were growing up, you couldn’t move in our house for all the Easter eggs that were cluttering up our house. But of course they would never last long because we could easily demolish that bumper supply in record time! I look around now and how much chocolate do we have? One chocolate bunny and four mini eggs which have barely been touched. I must be getting old!

But just last week a colleague inadvertently brought up another childhood memory of the egg-shaped variety when he mentioned that he had bought a pack of Kinder Bueno to snack on. I immediately thought back to when sis and I were at infant school and Dad would always come home with a Kinder Surprise for us. At first it was just the one but it soon became obvious that we were not going to share, so Dad eventually saw sense and would buy us one each.

Kinder Surprise – the stuff little kids dreams are made of! First made in Italy in 1973 by Ferrero, A Kinder Surprise is a hollow egg-shaped chocolate shell, about the same size as a regular egg. The shell is made up of two types of chocolate – scrummy milk chocolate on the outside and delicious white chocolate inside.

The two halves of the egg are fused together so it looks like a whole egg but with a little light pressure, the egg will split to reveal the hidden surprise – a plastic capsule which contains a small toy which is usually made of plastic and usually needs assembling. And in case you haven’t guessed, it’s primarily meant for kids!

But that didn’t stop me from heading out to the supermarket in search of this forgotten gem. Unlike a lot of things from my childhood, Kinder Surprise has not been obliterated and it is still very much alive and well! I picked up one for me and Hubby – and was amazed when on presenting it to him, he had absolutely no idea what it was!

 

I later found out that this is because the sale of Kinder eggs in the States was prohibited due to a 1938 act banned the sale of sweets which had a toy or trinket in it. This was further enforced in 2012 as the toy part was considered a hazard for small children. So poor Hubby missed out as a child! Not that he was particularly impressed with it now – it was me who was jumping up and down all excited!

I don’t believe it’s changed very much since I was a child. The foil wrapper still uses the same colours. The only difference being that my wrapper contained an image of a Disney princess thus giving a clue as to what was inside. Also the plastic capsule is no longer in two parts. Instead it is now a single piece of plastic with a hinge on one side – and extremely difficult to open!

I thoroughly enjoyed my little trip down memory lane. I even took the Cinderella figure I’d assembled in to work the next day and was asked when I was going to turn twelve!

“Don’t you mean six?” laughed another colleague.
“Oh my gosh, is that thing plastic?” asked another colleague as he examined the figure before shaking his head and walking off. Well I’m sorry but Kinder Surprise have yet to include miniature Royal Doulton figures in their toy capsules!

And six years old or not – I’ll most definitely be buying them again!

 

 

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