I have recently lost my baking and blogging mojo, I have decided to blame it on the lousy weather we have been having, because as soon as the sun came out I wanted to bake. The thought of afternoon tea’s in the garden with the Children gave me the inspiration I needed.
I must also add that a little help from a fellow foodie blogger, the lovely Goddess Kitchen http://thegoddesskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/ also helped, she suggested that I buy myself a new cookery book, one that I had maybe wanted for ages and see if browsing through that would lead to me finding the inspiration I needed.
Well she was right, I am a huge lover of the magazine ‘Country Living’ and I am always inspired by the gorgeous recipes in it, so much so that when I saw this book ‘A Country Cooks Kitchen’, I just knew I had to have it.
There are so many amazing and traditional recipes in this book, from making your own butter and cheeses, to preserving and baking and I just want to start at the beginning and cook and bake my way through it.
I started with the Vinegar Cake as it caught my eye as being rather unusual and as the recipe claims, you truly don’t taste the vinegar, but you do have a really lovely light fruit cake.
You may think I was slightly mad, baking a cake that takes so long to bake in this heat, but what better excuse to throw a few ingredients together and escape outside into the sunshine while it leisurely bakes away. You can potter around, do a bit of gardening and then reward yourself with a well earned slice of cake and a cup of tea.
I did mess about with the recipe a little, I think it is one of those cakes where you can really use what you have left in your cupboards, as long as the measurements match up, you should be fine. I swapped the sultanas for currants as I seem to have loads of them in the cupboard, dried apricots I swapped for dates, as I love dates and the dried cranberries I mixed to the weight of 150g of glace cherries and some left over ginger I had. It turned out beautifully. I have left the recipe below as it is in the book as I love the ingredients and will be baking it this way next time I bake it.
(Link below is for this gorgeous book, I am sure you will love it)
225g butter, diced, plus you will need some for greasing the tin
450g plain white flour, sifted
225g soft light brown sugar
125g dried apricots, chopped
150g dried cranberries
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 tablespoons malt or distilled vinegar
Preheat the oven to 200c (180c fan), 400f, gas mark 6.
Lightly grease and line the base and sides of a deep 9 inch cake tin with baking parchment.
Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and dried fruit.
Mix together the remaining ingredients (milk, bicarb & vinegar) in a separate bowl, then stir immediately into the flour mixture to combine. It all comes together very easily and quickly.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 30 minutes (don’t disappear into the garden just yet). After the 30 minutes are up, turn the oven down to 160c, 140c fan, 325f, gas mark 3 and bake for further 1 1/2 hours (now you can disappear outside), bake until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
If the top starts to brown and burn to much, just cover with a piece of foil. I lined my tin with the parchment so that he was twice the height of the tin and this seemed to protect it from burning, so I didn’t need to do this.
Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely, but if you are anything like me, you know you will have to pinch a sneaky warm slice before it cools down, heaven, fresh baked from the oven.
Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Another reason I just love this type of cake, great to have stored away for unexpected guests.