Sunday, March 16, 2014

Irish Marmalade Cake for Saint Patrick's Day

 This is a lovely simple, elegant cake to celebrate Saint Patrick's - it surely does have a wonderful Gaelic bent as I used Scottish marmalade which has a nice deep flavour. I used the recipe from this book by Ruth Isabel Ross - one of my 'go to' favourite books for Irish recipes.
These last few weeks I have been eating a lot of organic tangelos and realized - wait why am I throwing away the peel when I can so easily make candied peel on the ever cranked wood burning stove - it has been wicked chilly these last few weeks, nary a day above freezing so the old stove has been doing a fine job of keeping us toasty! Anyway when I decided to do the Irish Marmalade Cake I decided a topping of home made candied 'orange' peel would be a good addition to the simple cake - and boy was I right - was a lovely extra. On the first day when it is poured atop it is shiny and delicious but the next day when it has dried a little and crystallized - it is that much better, as is the cake itself, it is one of those cakes that improves in flavour with a couple of days keeping.

FOR THE CANDIED PEEL
So if you'd like to add your own candied peel to the cake here's what to do:
2 oranges or 3 tangelos - maybe 4 tangerines if you use them

1 cup/8oz  of sugar approx

1/2 cup/8 fl oz of water approx

My method is not very scientific - I chop the peel into small pieces - maybe 1/4" square - and then I boil them in plenty of water for 10 minutes, I drain them and then repeat that process 3 times which helps to debitter the peel.

Then I add the sugar and 1/2 cup/8 fl oz water and boil gently until the peel is somewhat transparent and very shiny - then I taste to see how they are - if they need more sugar I add more and also add more water if the syrup is too thick and then I boil them a little longer. Basically I get them to where they are soft, taste good and have some syrup left for me to use on the cake - it usually takes about an hour or so to get them right. 

THE CAKE:
Please have all your ingredients at room temperature - makes a much better cake!

Have the oven at 350F and butter and flour a small cake pan - I always use my 6" round that gives a nice high cake - but if you only have a bigger pan then use that and expect a lower cake - keep your eye on the timing too as a shallower cake may take less time to bake.

INGREDIENTS:
4oz/125g/1 stick of butter (I always use salted in my sweet recipes - I like the taste it gives)

4oz/125g/ 1/2 cup sugar

4oz/125g/ 1/2 cup marmalade - as you can see I used Dundee - a good strong flavour but Ruth suggests a whiskey marmalade and if you can find one, which I couldn't , why not use it?

8oz/250g/ 2 cups white flour
(in the UK use self raising flour - in the US add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda to your flour to make it self raising)

2 large eggs beaten

2 UK tablespoons/ 2 1/2 US tablespoons of milk
(I don't know for sure as I am not a scientific or technical baker - I do my baking for fun BUT you may be able to exchange the milk for whiskey without changing the recipe but I'll look into that and see if I can find any info on that matter)

THE METHOD:
1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add the marmalade and beat in well.

3. Sift the dry ingredients together and add the milk to the eggs. Add one third of the dry to the mix and fold in well, then add half the wet - fold well, then one third of the dry and fold well...then the rest of the eggs/milk and end with the last of the flour and fold well until well blended and smooth.

4. Now dollop the batter into the cake pan and smooth the top with a wetted palette knife or spoon, the water stops the batter from sticking to the utensil - to leave a well in the centre - this cake rises a lot so making it lower in the middle helps it not to crack so much when baking.
5. My cake got brown really fast so next time I make this I will make sure to put a circle of aluminium foil over the pan at the beginning and then check for colour half way through - I think it will brown well enough without removing the foil but you will have to check. The marmalade in this cake makes the whole cake go nice and dark as in the pictures below.

6. Bake for about 1 hour until a skewer/tooth pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan.
Incidentally if you like the background fabric "Rolling Star Quilt" you can purchase it at my Spoonflower shop HERE
 When the cake is nearly completely cool rewarm the candied peel, remove the cake carefully from the pan, set on your prettiest plate and spoon the candied peel and luscious syrup over your cake thusly:
You can eat this cake right away, as above, or leave for the next day for better flavour as below - if you wait the candied peel will have lost it's shine but gained in texture and the syrup will be wonderfully crystallized and YUMMY!!!!!
And here's a close up of the inside texture:
So off with you now and bake yourself a lovely cake for Saint Patrick's Day!

The first time I made this cake there was not a jar of marmalade to be found in the whole of Belfast, Maine so I used Bonne Maman's Yellow Plum jam - it came out beautifully - I did add the candied peel to that one too - what's surprising though is that cake did not go brown - it stayed a really light yellow so the marmalade does make for a very dark cake. I am sure you can use any jam or marmalade to good effect in this cake and I'd love to try it soon with ginger preserves and candied ginger atop - what do you think would taste good?

Here are some other recipes I have made for this special day, CLICK ON THE NAME TO GO TO THE RECIPE:



"Friends Forever"

 Meanwhile in Maine the sap is slowly beginning to flow - stopping and starting because we have one warm day and then lots of cold ones - still I am hopeful buy this time next week I'll be having maple syrup on some nice thin crepes!
HAPPY SAINT PATRICK'S DAY
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This Marmalade Cake is part of the Tea Time Treats Challenge for April being hosted by Lavender and Lovage and The Hedgecombers

Tea Time Treats

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