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Follow these eight tips for a truly memorable cake:
For Ingredients and quantities see chart below.
Use: Multisize cake tin, 10034.
Rich, dark and moist, this traditional cake cuts well without crumbling.
The cakes are scaled to vary in depth, from 2½in (6.5cm) for smaller cakes, up to 4in (10cm) for larger cakes. This gives a tiered wedding cake a balanced look. See chart below for ingredients.
1. Prepare a cool oven 300F, 150C or Gas 2.
2. Grease and double-line cake tins with greaseproof paper. Draw around base of tin and cut out 2 squares; measure sides of tin and cut greaseproof paper to fit sides (avoid joins, as these could spoil the shape of cake). Cut the strip 2in (5cm) higher than the depth of the cake tin; fold down 1in (2.5cm) along the strip and snip at intervals up to the fold. Brush tin with oil and place strip in tin, the folded paper at the bottom. Press paper to sides of tin; fit squares of paper in base; brush again with oil.
3. Halve, wash and dry the cherries and place in a large bowl. Weigh and add the flour, currants, sultanas, raisins, mixed peel, nuts and spice.
4. In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, beating well after each addition. Add a little of the flour and fruit if the mixture begins to curdle.
5. Add essences and a little gravy browning to give a darker mixture if liked. Mix in the rest of the fruit and flour mixture.
6. Put into a prepared tin and level top with the back of a spoon. Place cake in oven and reduce the temperature to very cool (275F, 140C or Gas1). Cook for the time stated in the chart. Check the cake 30mm before end of cooking time. When cooked, the cake should feel firm to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in tin.
7. When quite cold, remove from the tin (leave the greaseproof paper on, as this helps to keep the cake moist). Turn the cake upside down and wrap in greaseproof paper, then loosely in polythene. Keep in a cool, dry, dark place. The cake improves with keeping. To increase the keeping time and to improve flavour, pierce the top of the cake with a skewer and spoon over a little brandy, sherry or rum. The cake is at its best 4 months after baking.
I decided on a chocolate cherry flavour, because I love cherries and they are in season, which means I could use British produce, which I prefer to do.