Sunday, 10 November 2013

Sultana spice cake with quince curd – and Movember news

There is something about quince that I find appealing.  The last time I tried to describe it I ended up calling it a pregnant apple  and I still think that stands.  It’s almost a hybrid – the offspring of an apple and pear.  It has a gentle fragrance and a softly gritty texture (like a pear).

The one thing about quince that puts me off using it is how hard it is to chop.  But not this time!  I was very kindly gifted a knife sharpener by the nice people at Handpicked Collection 
and I decided to test it out with this task.  All I can say is – wow!  I leant on the knife expecting it to be a struggle to get through the, frankly massive, quince and almost lost my balance as the knife sliced through it without any strain.

I adapted the cake from one of my favourite recipes
 using brown sugar and mixed spice.  It really is a cracking cake and would be a good last minute Christmas cake if you want something lighter than the traditional fare.  It keeps like a dream too.

At the last minute I changed my mind about using the curd to sandwich the cake.  The reason for this was that it would’ve meant the whole cake needed refrigeration and I wasn’t sure the cake would keep well like that.  I served it on the side, as you would cream, but it would also be nice to spread it on the cake like butter.

Now, the observant among you will have noticed it’s November...or Movember as it’s known in Caked Crusader Mansions.  Mr CC has manned up again and is currently sporting a fairly sparse collection of whiskers that will shortly amount to a fine ‘tache...we hope!  If you wish to donate to a fabulous cause (fighting prostate and other male cancers) please visit Mr CC’s Mo spacePlease leave your name (or blogger name if you prefer) and I will enter you into my prize draw to win this:

Yes!  A totally awesome Nordicware bundt tin.  Because it’s such a good cause I will send the tin anywhere in the world so please don’t feel you can’t join in if you’re outside the UK; last year’s prize went to Poland.  I will draw the winner at the end of November.  Every donation helps, and justifies Mr CC sporting a bandito through my and his mother’s birthday party photos every year!  Thanks for any donation you can make.


For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g golden caster sugar
125g light brown sugar

3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons mixed spice
320g sultanas
375g plain flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
170ml buttermilk

For the quince curd:
400g quince – peeled, cored and chopped.  400g is the prepared weight.  This will amount to one huge, or 2-3 normal quinces
65g lemon juice – I needed 2 lemons
125g caster sugar
4 eggs
75g unsalted butter – straight from the fridge

How to make:

Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan oven 140°C/315°F/Gas mark 2-3.
Line a 23cm round springform tin with baking paper.  Make sure the paper comes up above the height of the tin.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This is a big cake that uses large quantities of ingredients so it will take longer to cream the butter and sugar. Don’t skimp!

Gradually beat in the egg and mixed spice. If the mix looks like it’s curdling add some of the flour.

Stir in the sultanas.

Fold in a third of the flour and baking powder, then a third of the buttermilk, then a third of the flour and so on until both are fully combined.

Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Bake for 1 - 1 ¼ hours or until a skewer comes out cleanly. Mine took 1 hour 5 minutes.  Cool for 30 minutes before removing from the tin and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cake is baking and cooling you can make the curd: place the chopped quince in a saucepan and cover with cold water.

Bring to the boil then simmer until the quince is soft – mine took about 40 minutes, but as all fruits will be different I’d start checking it after 20 minutes.

Drain the quince and puree, while still warm, to a pulp.

Place the pureed quince into a glass or metal bowl and rest the bowl over a pan of simmering water, taking care that the water doesn’t touch the bowl.

In a separate bowl beat together the lemon juice, caster sugar and eggs.  You only need to beat until they are combined – you’re not looking to add volume to the mix.

Pour the egg mix into the quince and cook – stirring very regularly – until the mixture thickens.  This may take 20 minutes or more.

Once cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the cold butter.  This will make the curd shiny.

There is no harm in passing the curd through a sieve at this stage - just in case there are any eggy bits.

Leave to cool before refrigerating.

Up to this point, the cake can be made a day in advance of serving.

Assemble the cake when you’re ready to serve it: either slice the cake through into two or three layers and then sandwich with the curd, or cut slices and spread the curd on as if buttering it.  I decided to serve it on the side, like you would whipped cream.

Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.



Gloria Baker said...

This look amazing! I have to sabe the récipe I adore quinces so a quince curd is heavenly!!! Love your récipes.xo

Katie said...

Looks a delicious cake and an amzing curd. I'd never have thought of using quince in curd. Bet its very fruity and fragrant.

My boyfriend and work colleagues are doing Movember too - they all look so different. Good luck to Mr CC

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

That looks like one gorgeous cake. Oh how I love a fruit cake! And yes, you are right they do look like pregnant apples :)

Lucy said...

I've got quite a few quinces that need using up but I hadn't thought of using them in a curd - sounds great!

Choclette said...

Your cake looks splendid as always, but I am now completely in love with the thought of quince curd - why haven't I thought of that?

Queen of Quince said...

I'm loving the Quince Curd recipe but at a loss about the cake. What are sultans? Raisins...for us across the pond?

sensibilia said...

Mmm, can feel my mouth watering as I read. Quince curd - lovely idea if only I could find any quinces to buy!

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Queen of Quince

Raisins are dried white grapes whereas Sultanas are dried white seedless grapes and therefore a bit sweeter.
Didn't realise you didn't have them in the States - you're missing out!

Happy baking

Stuart Vettese said...

Never had a quince CC, but i would certainly love to try your delicious offering!

Jo said...

Quince curd sounds amazing, especially served with a cake packed with lots of juicy sultanas.

Anonymous said...

I cant find quince, would apples or pears be a good substitute maybe with some star anise?

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Anonymous

Yes, I think apple or pear (or a combination of both) would work well as they are similar textures.

Until this recipe, I'd only made curd using juice or sieved puree - now I now it works with more robust fruits I shall be experimenting

Happy baking

snowy said...

Used to get quinces from our neighbour when we lived in France.I made jam with them but didn't think of making curd, great idea. Love fruit cakes, and have made your recipe before, and it's one of our favourites. Thanks CC.

Cakelaw said...

I love quince too, but I am too lazy to do anything with them so I rarely buy them. They are hard work, although beautiful to look at and eat once prepared. This combination sounds devine.