Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To Make Rich Cake

I have been on a cake kick lately. Mostly because I love to bake. I was planning on making this cake for Twelfth Night, but the ingredients proved harder to find than I had thought.  The original recipe comes from "The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy", 1774.  While this is an 18th Century Recipe  I can only imagine that these types of cakes were cooked well into the 19th Century. I must admit that I did cheat a bit with this cake, since Williamsburg's History is Served has already transcribed this recipe for the modern cook. You can find their recipe here.  

First, gather all of your ingredients  To me, it seemed like a lot of things for one cake, mostly because of all of the candies fruits that need to go in.  The "new" recipe calls for almond flour, which I could not find locally, and I have not justified ordering any yet. So, I decided to go with the original recipe, and blanch & sack almonds until fine.  While I had never done this before the process was easy, just a little time consuming.  After the skins were removed, I placed the whole almonds in a towel and started to whack them with a meat cleaver. I will warn you, when you start to "sack" the almonds, make sure no one in the house is trying to nap. This is loud, but kinda fun. You do really have to whack them for a while to get them to a flour-like consistency  (You could use a food processor to make this faster, but I was trying to keep things "real".)

Now that all of the ingredients are ready. Start creaming your butter & sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, I used 8 in all. When the eggs are fully  mixed in, sift the flour in a separate bowl. I used about 4 cups of cake flour (Swans Down is a family favorite) 2 cups of granulated sugar, almond flour, and spice go in at this time as well. Mix all of the dry ingredients together, then add gradually to the butter mixture. The batter forms a nice consistency. After the cake batter is well blended, its time for the special ingredients, the sweet-meats! Candied lemon peel, orange peel & citron, as well as currants all go in then the Brandy & Sherry. The alcohol is more for preservation, but also adds a nice rich flavor to the batter.

After everything is added, put in a bunt pan and bake at 350. I actually baked the cake in 2 small pans. Remove from the oven and cool before taking it out of the pan. Then allow to cool completely before slicing. The cake is very good! Essentially it is a pound cake with fruits in it. Yes, it took me a minute to realize that.  I did freeze one of the cakes for a later event.  Overall, a good recipe, not too sweet, but full of flavor!

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