Friday, 7 October 2011

Bake That!

Ann’s been watching The Great British Bake Off on BBCTV…

Sales of cake tins and everything needed for home baking have shot up. Lakeland, who sell everything you need for baking, and a lot of stuff you never thought you would need, report that business is up by a third. As my family have been customers since the 1960’s when the firm started as Lakeland Plastics selling freezer bags, I’m delighted. There’s nothing quite like the Lakeland catalogue, which thumps on to the door mat with alarming regularity, and introduces you to a whole new fantasy world of cooking, cleaning and tidying.

Perhaps this new baking enthusiasm is the result of the credit crunch, but perhaps it’s also because so many viewers have enjoyed The Great British Bake Off. Inspired by Janet’s rhubarb and ginger baked cheesecake I made her recipe this week, but substituted quince for rhubarb. Decorated with those bright green nibbed pistachios, it looked pretty good, and tasted pretty good too.

I think one of the charms of The Great British Bake Off is that the participants are amateur cooks, struggling with the same problems that beset any home cook. Although not many of us, I suspect, are tackling Mary Berry’s coffee Battenburg cake, which needed marzipan, coffee butter icing, and a cake tin divided into 2 with greaseproof paper so that the plain and coffee sponges could be baked together.

Mrs. Beeton offers a different take on the bi-coloured cake. Here’s her Marble Cake, from the 1915 edition.

White cake: 2 cups flour, 1 ½ cups caster sugar, ½ cup butter, ½ cup milk, 4 whites of egg, ½ tsp. Cream of tartar, ½ tsp.baking soda.
Dark cake: 2 ½ cups flour, ½ cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup treacle, ½ cup milk, 3 eggs, ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda, ½ tsp cream of tartar, cloves, cinnamon.

Mix each part separately, then layer each mixture alternately into a square baking tin. Bake in a moderate oven 1-2 hrs., ice when cool with a little water icing, and trace a marble pattern on the top with a feather dipped in cochineal.

If you bake this, tell me how you get on! And for more foodie titbits, join my walk this Saturday October 8, 10.45 at Green Park tube, park exit.

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