Showing posts with label fruit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fruit. Show all posts

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Trifle sponge cake


 



Recently I made a trifle and it dawned on me that, with a bit of tweaking as to the order of construction you could make trifle cake.  And here it is!  It may sound immodest (OK, definitely immodest!) but I consider this my masterpiece; so often I am disappointed with my final product as it doesn’t match the perfection I pictured in my mind.  This one exceeded my wildest hopes!


Mr CC is very hands off re cooking and is totally happy to go along with whatever I wish to make, however I wish to make it – with one big exception: trifle.  The look on his face when I once served him trifle without jelly in it now forms the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of “disgust”. 

The look on his face when I used posh fresh custard rather than Bird’s...well, let’s just say that I’m amazed I ever made it to becoming Mrs CC!


This cake really is, barring the homemade sponge, comprised of trifle ingredients of the 1970s i.e. the decade of my (and Mr CC’s) youth.  Tinned fruit, packet jelly, Bird’s custard and whipped cream.  Happy days.


In order for everything to set make the sponge two days before you wish to serve the cake. 




Leave it overnight to firm up and then, one day before serving slice it into three, place a layer in the tin and add the custard.  Place another layer of sponge on top then back in the fridge to set. 


A little later pour some jelly on to the sponge and then refrigerate until set.


Then add the tinned fruit and the rest of the jelly, top with the remaining sponge and – you’ve guessed it - back into the fridge to set. 


On the day of serving add the whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.  Easy enough, but it does require planning.  I only say this so no one tries to make the cake in one day and then get cross that I didn’t point out the timescale involved!


Slice of trifle anyone?

Ingredients
For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
220g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
80ml milk
300g self raising flour
For the filling:
1 pint of powdered custard – made up as per the instructions on the pot (you can’t use fresh custard as it won’t set and hold its shape like Bird’s)
1 tin of fruit cocktail (in fruit juice, not syrup)
1 packet of jelly – made up as per the instructions on the packet

To decorate: whipped cream and flaked chocolate


Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
Line the base of a 20cm springform deep baking tin with baking paper.
Start by making the sponge 2 days before you wish to serve the cake: Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Don’t skimp on this stage as this is when you get lots of lovely air into your sponge.
Beat in the eggs gradually, add some of the flour if it looks like it might curdle.
Beat in the milk.
Stir in the flour until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the sponge comes out clean. Another good sign is if the sponge is just pulling away from the edge of the tin.
Leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.
Store the cake in an airtight tin overnight – this will firm the sponge and make it easier to carve.
One day before serving: Slice the sponge cake into three even layers.
Line the springform tin you baked the cake in with clingfilm, then wrap the outside in foil. This is so no jelly or custard can escape while it’s setting.  I have an adjustable cake ring so used that – but it’s important to get a tight fit around the sponge.  Also, ensure that the foil (or baking paper) comes up above the height of the tin – this is a tall cake.
Sit the bottom disc of sponge in the bottom of the lined tin.
Now make a pint of custard as per the instructions on the custard pot.  Don’t use fresh custard as it won’t set firm enough to support the cake.
Allow the custard to cool a little but not so much that it sets.
Pour the custard onto the sponge base and level the surface.
Press  the middle disc of sponge onto the top; doing this now will prevent a skin forming.
Refrigerate for about 2-4 hours or until the custard is very firm.
Now make the jelly per the packet instructions.  Leave to cool as you don’t want to upset the set custard.
Remove the cake from the fridge and pour over just enough jelly to soak into the sponge and saturate it – you know when it’s enough as the liquid jelly will start to pool on the sponge.
Put back in the fridge – once this firms up it will act as a seal and ensure that the rest of the jelly sets around the fruit.
Tip out the contents of a tin of fruit cocktail into a sieve, you don’t need the juice.
Spoon the fruit onto the top sponge disc and spread out into an even layer.
Pour the remaining cooled jelly over the fruit.
Gently place the remaining disc of sponge on top and loosely cover the tin with clingfilm.  (You want to put the remaining sponge on now as the jelly will set against it and hold all the layers in place)
Place in the fridge and leave to set – this will take several hours and is best left overnight.
On the day of serving decorate with whipped cream and chocolate.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.
Eat.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Trifle


Trifle is something that people seem to have got a little snobby about over the past few years. I’m not sure why as it’s heavenly! As long as you follow the basic components it also gives you great freedom of choice as to what you actually put in it.

Consequently, I’m not going to provide a recipe because it depends on what fruit is in season and what size bowl you’re going to use. I will however, tell you what my trifle included! I made lots and put some in my lovely crystal bowl (my January mega-bargain, if you recall) and made some in individual glasses:

Every trifle must have a spongy bottom (I think I must be a trifle!) Many people use swiss roll for this but I find that can make the overall dish too sweet so I made a Victoria sponge – the one I used for my Giant Madeleine – and cut that up. When served it almost gives it a summer pudding look, but with the bonus of custard and cream!

For the fruit layer I bought one box each of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. As the berries were tart I sprinkled a teaspoon of caster sugar over them to sweeten them up. Scatter these over the sponge layer and it already starts to look good!

Now we come to the ‘hot potato’ issue of trifle making: to jelly or not to jelly? I wouldn’t myself, but I was making this trifle for Mr CC, and the CCM and CCD all of whom like a bit of jelly. I used Rowntrees jelly cubes and made it up according to the packet instructions before pouring it over the fruit. It is quite satisfying to watch it seep into the sponge.

At this point refrigerate the bowl until the jelly has set. Now the custard layer. Use whichever custard you prefer – some like a thick yellow Bird’s custard but I find this a little plastic so bought good quality premade custard and beat some mascarpone cheese into it to thicken it. This is my top tip - custard and mascarpone is divine!

On top of this you only need some whipped cream and you’re done! Decorate with flaked almonds or chocolate or fruit – it’s up to you. As a nod to Valentine’s day I used some tiny sugar hearts.

Make sure you listen out for that terrific squelch noise that the first spoonful – and only the first spoonful – makes out of the serving bowl, then tuck into to English food at its finest!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Summer fruits pavlova


Pavlovas are so easy to make that I feel almost guilty at how fantastic they look – everyone will think it has taken hours to create your masterpiece when, in reality, there is very little hands-on work.

My meringue cracked at little but it makes no difference to the flavour and I don’t think it spoils the look either:

There is something temptingly luscious about a big pavlova; the individual ones make it to the plate more beautifully but a big pavlova –requiring two hands to transport to the dining table - brings out far more greedy desires.

Slices are messy and the fruit and cream tumbles out onto the plate:


The combination of berries, so juicy, delicious and richly coloured at this time of year, contrasts wonderfully with the snowy meringue, particularly when the fruit juices mingle with the cream:


It’s such an easy to make crowd pleaser. I like my meringue crisp on the outside but soft and cloudlike inside:


I end with a plea: has anyone else had trouble with blogger during the past week? I've had lots of error messages when trying to upload photos - they all begin with a BX reference number, and when I have uploaded photos it won't let me click and drag them into position (i.e. scrolling down through my post); I have to move them down a screen at a time...which takes ages. Is it blogger or me? Any ideas? I know you're a clever bunch so throw myself on your mercy!

Ingredients:
For the meringue:
6 egg whites
375g caster sugar

For the custard cream:
600ml double cream
500ml good quality ready made custard

For the fruit:
I used a supermarket punnet each of raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries but couldn’t fit them all on.

How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 150°C/fan oven 130°C/300°F/Gas mark 2.
- Line a large flat baking sheet with baking paper.
- Whisk the eggs whites to the stiff peak stage then gradually whisk in the sugar until you have a thick, glossy meringue.
- Spoon the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet and shape into a bowl – the meringue is good natured and you can sculpt it quite easily.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until pale and crisp.
- Turn off the oven and leave the pavlova to cool in the oven with the door slightly open.
- When cold you can store overnight in an airtight container until needed.
- When ready to serve (don’t do this in advance or the meringue will go soggy) make the cream filling: whisk the cream until it is just about holding soft peaks, then whisk in the custard a spoonful at a time.
- Spoon the custard cream into the meringue case and top with fruit of your choice.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Christmas Fruitcake

I feel guilty that, as the Caked Crusader, I can’t abide fruit cake. Never have liked it, but members of my family do and, in truth, I rather enjoy making it. It’s a satisfying cake as it won’t be rushed and always works. It is also incredibly easy to make.


Like last year, I have made my trusted Australian Women’s Weekly fruitcake but have made two changes. Firstly, I have made it in a round tin (OK, not exactly revolutionary), secondly I have used chopped crystallised ginger in place of one of the fruits – just pick your least favourite fruit ingredient and blue pencil it.

The most fun part of this recipe, because it feels so odd, is when the cake comes out of the oven. Straightaway you have to brush the additional brandy over the cake and then wrap the whole thing (the cake is still in the tin) tightly in tin foil. For the rest of the day whenever I wander past my mummified cake I can’t resist feeling the foil to see how hot it still is! It takes hours to cool down – it will take overnight.

The cake is very moist – this photo shows how the brandy seeps into the cake:


As is the way with a Christmas cake, it won’t be cut until the big day so I’ll post pictures of cut slices when that happens. My Christmas cake is always served sans marzipan and icing because it only gets picked off and left on the plate. I asked the CCD (Caked Crusader’s Da), who is the main consumer of Christmas cake, whether I should put some whole blanched almonds on the top for decoration and he looked at me like I was insane. Fruitcake for him is just that.

Although I’ve called this Christmas fruitcake it would better be named Year cake for me, as the CCD is pretty much the only one who eats it and he makes it last throughout the year. The cake keeps perfectly in an airtight container and doesn’t dry out at all.

Post Christmas update:

The cake has now been cut and declared a success. The consensus was that the addition of ginger was most welcome. As always I served the cake simply with just a frill and a message!


The happy snowman frill is very cute:


You can see that the cake is moist and packed with fruit:



Ingredients:
250g sultanas
250g raisins
140g chopped seeded prunes
110g currants
125g chopped seeded dates
110g chopped crystallised ginger
60g chopped glacé cherries
125ml brandy
250g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
200g brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
4 eggs
225g plain flour
75g self raising flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
60ml brandy for brushing on the hot cake

How to make:

- At least one day before you make the cake, place all the fruit (i.e. the first 7 items on the ingredients list) into a large bowl and pour on the brandy. Cover the bowl and, whenever you think of it, give the fruit a stir so it evenly absorbs the brandy.
- Preheat oven to 150°C/fan oven 130°C/300°F/ Gas mark 2 and line either a 19cm square tin or 23cm round tin with greaseproof paper. As the baking time is so long, use two or three layers of paper and make sure that the paper comes up approximately 5cm above the edge of the tin. This protects the cake from burning.
- Beat the butter, lemon rind and sugar in a bowl until well combined.
- Add the honey and beat until combined.
- Add the eggs one at a time and beat after each addition. By the time you reach the final egg the mix may start to curdle but don’t worry – nothing bad will happen! If curdling upsets you add a little of the flour to counter it.
- Stir in the fruit and then stir in the flours and spice.
- Spoon into the cake tin and even the surface.
- Bake for approximately 3 hours or until a skewer comes out cleanly. I’d recommend checking the cake after 2 ½ hours. If the top is colouring too much, put a sheet of baking paper over it. Mine took exactly 2 hours 45 minutes.
- This is where the recipe differs to other fruit cakes you may have made. As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, brush on the extra brandy.
- Wrap the cake, still in the tin, tightly in foil. This ensures the cake extra moist. Leave to cool completely over night.
- The next day, remove the cake from the tin and wrap in fresh greaseproof paper and foil. Keep in an airtight container until you are ready to use.
- Decorate as desired.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Multi-Purpose Fruit Cake

This is a recipe from my ‘Christmas Cakes and Puddings book’ from Australian Women’s Weekly . Their recipes are exceptionally reliable. I have spent a while pondering what other purposes the cake may have to justify the ‘multi-purpose’ in the title and think it must mean that this fruit cake would work in any situation where fruit cake is needed i.e. the whole gamut of hatches, matches and despatches as well as seasonal events. I don’t think you could use it stop leaky taps or wedge under a wobbly table, for example.

My fruit cake will remain nude this year. No one in my family really likes the marzipan and hard icing so why bother with it? Sure, it looks pretty but why slave over something that everyone is going to discretely pick off and discard on their plate? A paper ruffle and a plastic Santa will suffice!

The great thing about this sort of fruit cake is that you can tailor it to your tastes. For instance, if you loathe glacé cherries, omit them – as long as you maintain the overall weight of fruit in this cake it doesn’t matter what you choose to put in or leave out. I left out the glacé apricots simply because I didn’t have any and increased the amount of raisins, sultanas and currants accordingly. What pleased me with this recipe was the inclusion of dates and prunes – often overlooked in Christmas cakes; as I have a weakness for both they were a most welcome addition!


Here is the mix waiting to go into the tin:


Dense fruit cake is fascinating when you think about it. Study a slice of cut fruit cake and you will notice how little ‘cake’ there actually is. The batter is merely a way of holding the fruit together. OK, perhaps it isn’t that fascinating.....(note to self – new year resolution: to get out more)

Here is the finished cake - it was a really gloomy day when I took this photo so I needed electric lighting; it seems to have caused some light reflection on the surface for which I apologise.



As this is for Christmas I cannot show you a cut slice yet - I will add a photo of a slice after Christmas. However, by photographing the side and base of the cake, you will get an idea of what it will look like:



Whenever a recipe requires dried fruits to be soaked in alcohol I recommend soaking for as long as possible; my preferred time is 24 hours in advance. I leave the spoon next to the dish and whenever passing stop and give the mix a stir. This seems to work well. Here is all the fruit freshly soaked in brandy glistening like jewels:

Post Christmas update:

The cake has now been cut and eaten so here are some update photos. This is how I served it - very simple indeed!

Here is a cut slice and the cut cake:



Ingredients:
250g sultanas
250g raisins
140g chopped seeded prunes
110g currants
125g chopped glacé apricots
110g chopped seeded dates
60g chopped glacé cherries
125ml brandy
250g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
200g brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
4 eggs
225g plain flour
75g self raising flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
60ml brandy for brushing on the hot cake

How to make:

- The day before you make the cake, place all the fruit (i.e. the first 7 items on the ingredients list) into a large bowl and pour on the brandy. Cover the bowl and, whenever you think of it, give the fruit a stir so it evenly absorbs the brandy.
- Preheat oven to 150°C/fan oven 130°C/300°F/ Gas mark 2 and line either a 19cm square tin or 23cm round tin with greaseproof paper. As the baking time is so long, use two or three layers of paper and make sure that the paper comes up approximately 5cm above the edge of the tin. This protects the cake from burning.
- Beat the butter, lemon rind and sugar in a bowl until well combined.
- Add the honey and beat until combined.
- Add the eggs one at a time and beat after each addition. By the time you reach the final egg the mix may start to curdle a little but don’t worry – nothing bad will happen!
- Stir in the fruit and then stir in the flours and spice.
- Spoon into the cake tin and even the surface.
- Bake for approximately 3 hours or until a skewer comes out cleanly. I’d recommend checking the cake after 2 ½ hours. If the top is colouring too much, put a sheet of baking paper over it. Mine took exactly 3 hours.
- This is where the recipe differs to other fruit cakes you may have made. As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, brush on the extra brandy.
- Wrap the cake, still in the tin, tightly in foil. What this does is make the cake extra moist. Leave to cool completely over night.
- The next day, remove the cake from the tin and wrap in fresh greaseproof paper and foil. Keep in an airtight container until you are ready to use.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.