I guess the same way Paul is king of the breads, Mary seems to be queen of the cakes.
I know it’s been a few weeks since I last baked-and-blogged, but it’s actually only been two days since my last bake (snickerdoodles) and five days since my second-to-last bake (sourdough). I just haven’t talked about those bakes in a written format because they weren’t from this book.
I was actually going to skip a bake from the book this week because I’ve already baked so much, but I also know that when I get that attitude, I am days away from quitting this challenge altogether, so here I am. At 9 o’clock. Waiting for a cake to bake.
I didn’t start at 9 p.m. I started writing at 9, but I started baking at around 8:15.
Mary’s cherry cake.
This is only a one-spooner, which means it’s super easy. In theory. The problem is Mary calls for
glacé cherries and those things are a mess. Which is where our story begins.
Mary wants me to quarter 200 grams of glacé cherries for this cake. That’s so much stickiness. And I am still not entirely sure what glacé cherries are. Are they actual cherries that have been candied? Are they dried cherries and then soaked in syrup? Are they cherries in name only and are actually pure sugar? A quick google would solve this mystery but I prefer to speculate. Are they mummified cherries that have sweetened over time?
That last one didn’t make sense.
Back to the bake.
All quartered and ready to be rinsed. But first, I need to show you just how gross this process is.
Just pure glacé syrup. Whatever glacé is. We’ll never know.
After a thorough rinse, Mary wants me to dry these on baking paper but nobody has time for that. Especially the person who took three hours to decide whether or not to bake.
After several rounds of paper towel, I added some of the measured flour (and baking powder because I still don’t have self-raising flour) and set that aside.
Next step? Throw everything else in a bowl and beat.
That includes the flour, eggs, butter, sugar, ground almonds and zest of one lemon.
And a partridge in a pear tree.
I was worried I didn’t get a big enough bowl to mix but I also didn’t care enough to swap it out, so I just dealt with the mess. I mean I did try to minimize the inevitable electric mixer mess by first smushing things together with a spatula, but that only got me so far.
The mixer really handled the bulk of the work. So much so that I was worried I would break it. This is a thick mixture and the mixer was getting a little weary. No burning smell, though, so I think it’s still fine.
A quick fold of the floured formerly syruped glacé cherries…
And it’s ready to be popped into a greased bundt tin that I really hope is greased with enough butter. Because I do not want to spend the remainder of my evening digging cake out of a bundt tin.
If you get the reference, you can be my friend.
Time for a 35 to 40 minute bake.
I can already tell this will not be iced tonight.
I’ll ice it in the morning.
That’s future me’s problem.
*35 minutes later*
Thirty-five minutes later and it wasn’t done.
The toothpick did not come out clean.
*five minutes later*
For the following five minutes, I started wondering if my oven always takes longer and maybe I do need to get an oven thermometer because maybe it’s got its own temperature system. A lot of ovens differ slightly which is why recipe makers have to be so vague with cooking times.
But then I checked it after five minutes and it was done.
No oven thermometer needed for this gal.
Mary wants me to leave you in your mould for 10 minutes before turning you out to cool completely. Which means I have to wait 10 minutes to see if I greased the bundt tin with enough butter.
*10 minutes later*
Good news, gang! The cake fell out of the tin with no effort at all.
Now to just leave it to cool completely overnight and then ice it in the morning.
Time to set 10 alarms instead of my usual five to make sure I wake up with enough time to do that.
*the next day*
I managed to wake up early enough to not only sleepwalk my way to the coffeemaker and consume the drug that is caffeine, but also to make the icing for this cake.
In near darkness, I sifted the icing sugar…
…juiced the lemon…
…and combined the two.
First confession: I made an absolute mess of the icing sugar. It was everywhere.
Second confession, I somehow over-juiced the lemon. Because it was not a thick paste, as Mary predicted. It was in fact runny.
I tried to add more icing sugar but it was remaining a pretty similar consistency, so I gave up and focused on the almonds I was supposed to toast.
Such a piddly amount of almonds.
I toasted them on the stove (not sure if Mary wanted me to do that or not), and—third confession—almost forgot about them.
Then I looked at everything I made: the too-warm almonds, the too-runny icing and the cake that was sure to slide around in my container.
And I made a crucial decision.
I would assemble it at work.
*a couple hours later*
I had a string of meetings starting at 10 a.m., which meant that I would have to serve this pretty early in the morning. I asked a few people if they’d object to early-morning cake and no one seemed to have any problems with it, so I got to assembling.
I made the right call to do this at work.
The icing was super runny.
Although if I would’ve done this at home last night, I may have been able to get the icing at the right consistency and it may have been able to harden like my emergency Christmas cake did. But alas, I did not, and this would have to do.
Thankfully no one had any complaints, and a couple of people even scraped off the excess icing and added it to their slice o’ cake.
I cut myself just a sliver of a slice because I’m trying really hard to consume less sugar.
And then I had a salad for lunch.
And then had a staring contest with the remaining three slices.
And asked several co-workers to please eat them so I wouldn’t have to.
They gladly obliged and I made a mental note to remember this super easy recipe for the next potluck I’m invited to. Adding zest to the cake batter and lemon juice to the icing is a genius idea. And I even didn’t mind the mysterious glacé cherries.