Let’s just get this cleared up, I’m not good at writing. I’m also not very good at talking. So why, might you ask, have I started this blog if I’m not confident at either of these? The answer is because I’m very passionate about food and everything behind it. I always have been, and as an essential part of living, I probably always will be too.
I haven’t had the best relationship with food. I’ve fallen in love with it, honeymoon-ed with it, had the occasional spat to a full on fall-out which has lasted the good part of two years. However, through this rough patch, I have never undervalued how important it is and through reading countless recipes and making up my own, I am finally starting to appreciate it to its fullest once again.
I am much more of a baker than I am a cook. I love the process and still baffle at how a selection of simple ingredients can connect to make something special (or a car crash) at the end of it. So, I’ll begin with one of favourites successes!
I think the type of cake I love the most is the big, thick slabs of moist sponge, jam packed full of fudgey fruit, that I can nibble on with a cup of tea in the afternoon. It can be shared with friends, over conversation and a steaming kettle, or simply enjoyed in the peace of your own company.
I first made this around October time of 2013, after reading a recipe in Marie Claire for a almond sultana cake. I immediately craved it, I wanted it instantly but after ransacking my baking supplies for almonds, I found none. I wasn’t going to let this stop me so instead topped it with figs instead, which I definitely prefer now and continue to use.
- 3 cups sultanas
- 1 cup hot earl grey tea
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1 1/2 cups caster sugar
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 1/2 cups plain flour
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 figs, thinly sliced
1. Preheat your oven to 180C and grease and line a springform cake tin. Ensure that the parchment paper is a couple of inches taller than the tin as the cake rises quite a lot.
2. Boil your kettle and place your sultanas in a heat proof bowl. Pop in an earl grey tea bag, 2 tablespoons of brandy and soak your fruit for AT LEAST 10 minutes. Ideally do this overnight if you have the time though, it produces a much better flavour.
3. In a bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy, and then fold in the eggs. Add the sultana mix and stir to combine.
4. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt and gently stir.
5. Spoon your batter into the tin and arrange the sliced figs on top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the cake starts to brown too quick then fold a piece of foil over the top to stop it from burning too quick.
6. Remove from oven and cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on a wired rack.