Did you watch The Great British Bake Off? I did, and true to form bought the tie-in cook book straight after the first episode. I loved the series but the book is a little odd. A fairly random selection of recipes seem to have been chosen, including some that didn’t work on the show or were criticised by he judges but with no notes to show amendments or updates. Other recipes are not from the series at all and it’s not clear who authored them. However I have Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and find it reliable, although having head her declare in the final that she’d never baked using fresh ginger (and worse seemed sceptical at the thought of it) I feel a little less confident in her.
I’ve only tried one recipe so far, although several tags flutter from the page edges and I think it was a success. A recent early morning coupled with a return of the much missed baking mojo led to a recipe for a Sticky Marmalade Tea Loaf. Perfect for two reasons; one I could finally use the jar of marmalade that was bought for guests and has since been languishing in the fridge. I know it will keep – but unused jars pain me – I feel sorry for them, as if they’re aware of their wasted potential and berate me with every opening of the fridge door. Reason two is that the recipe needed really soft butter, as in – blast in the microwave for a bit – so the fact that I was unprepared and the butter was still sat in said fridge was not a problem. The reason for the soft butter is that all the ingredients are combined in one bowl with a trusty wooden spoon (I have a wooden spoon that I trust – do you? In fact I have two trusty wooden spoons, one for curries and one for cakes, plus many other wooden spoons that have yet to be elevated to trustworthy status). Having baked so much with the Kitchen Aid and beating together butter and sugar for many minutes until light and fluffy, I was wary of combining in this way, but needn’t have worried.
If you didn’t watch the series this was one that didn’t work, it sank in the middle and led to the contestant, Mark, being eliminated in the first week, it did also earn him a hug from Sue Perkins. I doubled the recipe and made one regular loaf and two smaller ones in part because of my compulsion to double any batter recipe but also because I wanted to make one nut free version.
Mine did not sink in the middle, however the full-sized loaf was over baked at the recommended 60 minutes so I would check earlier – and I did need to cover with foil. I can’t be certain of the baking time for the smaller loaves as I managed to leave the oven door ajar! I’d suggest checking after 30 minutes to see if they need any foil and check after 40 with the trusty toothpick to see if they’re done. The result was a tasty, moist cake that might benefit from a dash of whisky perhaps to add a little zing to accompany the spices? The amount of marmalade in the cake and sticky glaze mean there are ample opportunities to play with taste depending on the type of marmalade used and you can play around with your choice of nuts I used a mixture of walnuts, brazil nuts, pecans and hazelnuts, all roughly chopped in a processor. There are spices in the cake, but I think a little stem ginger either in a marmalade or separately. Definitely one to make again.
Mark’s Sticky Marmalade Tea Loaf
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 175 light brown muscovado sugar
- 100g chopped mixed nuts (*optional as the cake works wonderfully without should you need a nut free version)
- 175g unsalted butter, very soft
- 3 medium free range eggs
- 140g marmalade (preferably home-made)
- 900g Loaf tine, grease and the base lined.
Preheat oven to 180C/350F/gm 4
Sift together flour, baking powder and spices, stir in sugar and nuts (if using).
Add the softened butter and eggs and then all but 1 tablespoon of the marmalade that you will need later for the glaze
Mix all the ingredients well using a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined and then spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the top.
Bake for 60 – 75 minutes (I would check earlier) until a skewer comes out clean. You may need to cover the top of the cake after 40 minutes to prevent over browning.
Carefully remove from the tin and leave to cool for 5 minutes while you make the glaze by heating the reserved marmalade with a couple of teaspoons of water in a small pan over a low heat.
Brush the glaze over the still warm loaves – allow to cool before slicing