Now, I told you a little while ago (here) that the lovely people at Baking Mad had sent me through a fabulous baking kit containing everything I needed to try out one of the recipes presented on the Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard show, which is on every Monday on Channel 4 at 2.40pm.
Here is a picture of Eric Lanlard's masterpiece :
I can tell you now, mine won't look anywhere near as impressive as that one ! If you want to have a try yourself, you can find all of Eric Lanlard's Baking Mad recipes here on the Channel 4 website or here on the Baking Mad website. The recipe we tried is this one :
Light Fruit Loaf
Light and fruity, this fruit loaf from Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard is perfect for a picnic or afternoon tea
300g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing.
300g golden caster sugar.
4 tsp orange blossom water.
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 medium oranges and 2 unwaxed lemons.
350g plain flour
200g glace cherries.
200g chopped mixed peel.
200g golden sultanas.
4 tbsp apricot jam, sieved.
2 tbsp water.
Large pieces of colourful glace fruits, such as candied orange, lime, melon, lemon and mango*.
75g glace cherries.
50g peeled pistachios.
1.Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3 and grease and double line a large terrine or loaf tin.
.2.Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light, pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time, and mix gently until incorporated.
.3.Sieve the flour and fold this into the mixture, then add orange blossom water and the zest and juice of the lemons and oranges.
.4.Place all the dried fruits in a bowl and dust with a couple of tablespoons of plain flour. This will prevent the fruits from sinking in the cake as it cooks. Finally fold the fruits into the creamed mixture using a spatula or large metal spoon.
.5.Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 150°C/gas mark 2 and bake for a further 1½ hours, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the tin, removing the paper and allowing to cool completely.
.6.To decorate, gently warm the jam with the water until reduced slightly. Cut the glace fruits into strips and arrange on top of the loaf cake, arranging cherries and pistachios in between the strips of fruit to add a splash of colour. Finish by gently brushing the apricot glaze over the top of the fruits.
.*Find glace fruits in specialist delicatessens
Well, they did say that we could follow the recipe to the letter or customise it as we saw fit so I did make a few changes. Firstly, I decided to make it as a round cake rather than a loaf (because I'm pretty sure it never would have fitted in my loaf tin). Secondly, I totally skipped the glazing with apricot jam and decorating with crystallised fruit stage, because I didn't have any. And thirdly ...
I divided all the measurements by half and made a half-sized cake (which was still big enough for a family of five to eat all week !) because I scared myself silly when I saw how much 300g of butter actually represents.
First of all, I creamed together the sugar and butter ...
Then mixed in the eggs and flour and all the dried fruit and glacé cherries (wow, talk about a blast from the past, I couldn't stop eating them out of the tub because they remind me of being a kid and making cherry buns in cookery class at school - I'll be looking up the recipe for those and getting nostalgic with the kids in the kitchen during the holidays).
I flattened it down a bit with a fork, which made it look strangely like a cottage pie ! Baking Mad have a great tip when using dried fruit in cakes. If you roll the fruit around in flour before incorporating it into the cake mix, it shouldn't sink to the bottom. Well, time will tell !
The flipside - the fruit does still seem to have sunk to the bottom a bit but there is still loads at the top and all through the cake though. Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating - and that works for cakes too so time to get the mini-Madhouse testers in.
and from Sophie who loved the crunchy sugar/butter texture on the top of the cake ...
and even from Juliette, who didn't like the candied peel but loved the cake so much that she sat there picking the bits out and eating the rest ! I even offered a slice to the girls' friends, who apparently don't like raisins and sultanas, but they ate it all up and declared it delicious.
It's a surprisingly simple but delicious recipe that I'll definitely come back to and I now want to try out some of the other recipes from the Baking Mad website. This baking challenge also introduced to a lovely ingredient I'd never tried before - Orange Blossom Water. It's a really potent alcohol imbued with a delicious orange flavour - not at all what I was expecting but definitely something I'll be using again !
Many thanks to Baking Mad for setting me the baking challenge and providing the lovely ingredients !
You can find the recipe (and many many more) on the Baking Mad website : http://www.bakingmad.com/
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