Bring a cake

Before I moved to North Devon, I didn’t bake, I didn’t have the time or occasion to ever have to bring a cake.

I’m not sure whether there has been a baking revolution in the cities,in the country there always seems to be an excuse or need to eat cake, so much so after living here for four years, my first question whenever I’m invited to anything is “will I need to bring cake” the answer is usually yes. So whilst I don’t class myself as a baker my cakes seem to go down very well, on the bank holiday weekend we have a fundraising event for Croyde Surf Lifesaving Club, the annual Croyde Duck Race and I took along two of my favourites, Bread Pudding & Lemon Drizzle Cake.

Bread Pudding

My Nanny Olive used to make bread pudding and every time I make it, I’m reminded of her, this is the closest recipe I can find that reminds me of hers, always a winner with the men & washed down with a strong cup of tea, you can’t beat it.

500g white or wholemeal bread
585g mixed dried fruit, with peel if you can find it
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 pt milk
2 large eggs beaten
140g light muscovado sugar
zest 1 lemon
100g butter melted
2 tsp demerera sugar

Tear the bread into a large mixing bowl & add the fruit, peel & spice. Pour in the milk, then stir or scrunch through your fingers, to mix everything well & completely break up the bread.
Add the eggs, muscavado & lemon zest if using. Stir well & set aside to soak.

Heat oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4.
Butter & line base of 20cm square cake tin (not loose base). Stir the melted butter into the pudding mixture, tip into the tin, then scatter the demerara. Bake for 1.5 hours until firm & golden, cover with foil if it starts to brown too much. Turn out of the tin & strip off the paper. Cut into 9 squares, serve warm with a cup of tea.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

I came across this recipe in “The Great British Book of Baking”, my friend’s OH has been known to kidnap the cake & hide it for later when everyone has gone & today when I placed it on the table, someone bought it whole for a fiver, I could start a business! Very simple to make preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4. You’ll need a 20cm springclip tin or deep round cake tin, greased with butter & lined with greasproof paper.

Cake mixture
200g unsalted butter, very soft, but not runny
250g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temp, beaten
finely grated zest of 2 medium unwaxed lemons
250g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100ml milk at room temp

For the topping
100g caster sugar
juice of 2 medium unwaxed lemons
finely grated zest of 1 medium unwaxed lemon

Put the soft butter, sugar, eggs & lemon zest into a large mixing bowl, sift the flour & baking powder into the bowl, then pour in the milk. Beat with a wooden spoon or electric whisk, or food mixer on medium speed, until all ingredients are fully combined & completely smooth.

Pour mixture into the prepared tin & spread evenly. Bake in the oven until the cake is golden brown & firm & a cocktail stick inserted in the centre comes out clean – 50 to 60 minutes.

Meanwhile make the topping. Mix the sugar with the lemon juice & zest to make a runny glaze. As soon as the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven & stand the tin on a wire cooling rack. Prick the top of the cake all over with a cocktail stick, then quickly spoon the lemon topping over so that it trickles down into the holes. Leave to cool completely before removing the cake from the tin & discarding the lining paper. Serve cut into thick slices.