Recipe 36: Not so “spruced-up” vanilla cake

December 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Posted in baking | Leave a comment
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In the run up to Christmas, it is a great pleasure to escape from the piles of Christmas shopping, card writing, etc, to think about food.  Reading Nigella’s Christmas book is a sure-fire way to get into the mood of Christmas food (although as explained in my previous post – while I think you need to be organised for Christmas lunch – I find myself in disagreement with Nigella about the approach to Christmas day: I think it can be fairly relaxed and definitely not a military campaign!)

One of the lovely cakes that had caught my eye was the “spruced up” vanilla cake which is a fairly simple vanilla cake, but cooked in a beautiful shaped bundt tin… however I can’t justify to myself purchasing a £30 cake tin that I would only use once a year. So instead I decided to make a smaller one in a brioche shaped tin. The reason for making the cake was that I didn’t bother making a Christmas cake, and I didn’t know how long all my guests were staying on Christmas Day… so just in case they decided to stay for tea, there needed to be a cake on the table  and I thought that sprinkled with icing sugar snow it would look somewhat festive (I had considered the spice cake from Domestic Goddess… but having already made gingerbread muffins I thought that would be repetitive)

Making it: the first task was working out how much mixture I needed – my tin was smaller than the capacity of the bundt tin…. but resizing cake recipes is fairly simple – it relies on volumes and simple maths.  i knew that the bundt tin capacity was 2.4l and helpfully my tin was 1.2l – so no need for complex maths – just halving  all the ingredients.

Making it was simple – it’s just a cake: so creaming butter, sugar and then adding the flour, eggs and vanilla and finally some fat-free yoghurt. Because I had reduced the size of the cake I started checking it early, which was good as the top browned very quickly – so after about 30 minutes i covered the top with foil to stop it burning – but it still look most of the hour to cook. While it did not have the outstanding beauty of being in a special tin – it came out well and the brioche mould gave it a good (if less dramatic) shape.

Eating it: It was a dense, but moist cake – very simple.  A great cake for mid-morning with a cup of coffee or as it landed up being part of a spread for tea on Boxing Day.

Next time: I think I might play around with flavourings… perhaps some coffee or some spices

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