Sunday, 13 February 2011

Have your cake and eat it



We're not hugely into Valentine's Day here, though I do make an effort to eat as much chocolate as I can on that day. Most of my efforts go into making little gifts for the girls, or indeed cajoling the girls into making presents for Mr DC. And in that spirit, when I saw these little cakes (via NotMartha) I knew that 1. I had to have a go and 2. I could never muster the dexterity required for that level of perfection.

So, instead, I give you the cackhanded cook's alternative to produce a cute but very definitely homemade (and therefore achievable) lunchbox treat.

Valentine's loaf cake

(All measurements are standard UK ones - sorry, I'm no good with cups or degrees F but I think a pound cake is the US equivalent)

This is based on a simple madeira cake - Nigella has one that calls for:

240g soft butter, creamed with
200g caster sugar
3 eggs - beaten in
90g plain flour and 210g SR flour beaten in

and it works very well but I suspect any basic cake recipe would be worth a try.

You'll need a lined square tin, about 20cm square, plus a 1lb loaf tin, also lined.

So, preheat the oven to 170C/150 fan/gas mark 3, then:

1. Take about 1/3 of the mixture (or, preferably, mix it up in 2 batches) and beat in a teaspoonful of vanilla extract, a capful of rosewater (optional) and a good squirt of bright pink food colouring.


If you have mixed only one batch, you'll need to keep the rest in the fridge till later, and you may then need to loosen it with a little milk.

You want this violently pink and well mixed. You'll see from the picture at the top that I managed to achieve neither of these.



2. Spread the mixture into a small square tin - mine's about 20cm square. This doesn't need to be done neatly or perfectly. Bake for about 25 minutes till just cooked through.

3. Find a heart shaped cutter that fits well into your loaf tin, as shown.


Use it to stamp hearts out of the pink sheet cake.



4. To the remaining 2/3 of cake mixture add about a tablespoon of cocoa powder and mix it all up. Put a layer of this chocolate mixture into the bottom of the loaf tin. The first time I made this I made this layer too thick, and the hearts floated up to the top of the loaf; and this second time I made it too thin so the hearts are right at the bottom. It probably needs to be about a third of your chocolate batter.


5. Stack up your pink cake hearts and cram them in to the loaf tin - and I do mean cram. I thought 6 slices would be enough, but I managed to fit in a seventh and I am glad I did.




6. Blob cake mixture down the sides of the hearts - you may need to used your fingers but remember the mixture will spread in the oven so don't worry too much.


7. Spread the remaining mixture on top of the hearts. Bake until it's done - for me this took about 50 minutes and I think I may have been a little bit impatient.


Remove from the oven, slice it up and feel very happy. I sliced mine when it was hot which was silly. You won't make that mistake!


Just to prove the hearts go all the way through. Yes, it's wonky, but it's made with love and it tastes yummy!

28 comments:

  1. What a brilliant idea! Sadly I only have green food colouring in the cupboard which is more Halloween than Valentines!x

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  2. Oh! I think that is amazing. You are very clever Missus DC.

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  3. You are awesome! And have a kenwood chef, which makes me feel a teeny bit jealous.

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  4. Fab! I love the technical words you use - blob, cram...

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  5. So fun and very clever too!

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  6. Aw, charming as can be! And it's not every day that I hear the words, "You want this violently pink..."

    Me, I am being as half-arsed about V. Day as I was last year. Although I might stitch a bunting of heart-shaped old map bits shortly if I manage to get up a head of steam.

    Or I might just lie around and snack.

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  7. What a great idea! You're obviously the COOL Mum in the lunchroom!

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  8. Wow! I never would have figured out how to do that. K x

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  9. That is brilliant... I would never have guessed how to do it.

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  10. I bow to you, oh domestic one. Am quite jealous that you a)managed to do something so clever and b)actually had the energy and enthusiasm to do it. Happy Valentines Day, Ax

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  11. Oh. Just BRILLIANT. My girls would ooh and aah all day if I managed it. I do not hold out much hope.

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  12. Oooh you are clever! And patient! I would never manage to wait that long to eat the cake! Lucy x

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  13. I saw notmartha's checkerboard cake but I like yours even better. Clever & scrumptious in one!

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  14. what a brilliant cake - such a clever idea!

    xxx

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  15. That's amazing! what a good idea!!

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  16. Oh that is just so very clever! I'm not big on the Hallmark Red Roses version of valentines day, but if I found something like this in my lunch bag I would be thrilled!

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  17. Have just made this for pudding tonight after a supper of heart-shaped salmon cakes! Children v.v. impressed.

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  18. Wow! Impressive! What a lot of work, but it makes a gorgeous cake!

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  19. oohh that cake does have a lovely hidden gem, fantastic!

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  20. I couldn't imagine how you could get the heart shape inside the cake, but that's such a clever idea, I would have never thought of that! That madeira recipe is one of my favourites too so I might have to give this a go.
    R x

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  21. This is cleverly done! My duaghter would love this.

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  22. Ha, I had a giggle at the 'cackhanded cook' phrase - that would make a great title for a cookbook! Your fab cake is anything but cackhanded though, it is a wonderful valentine's treat and turned out perfectly - thanks for sharing the method.

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  23. Wow. I'm not even going to attempt that. These days I'm just happy if its edible - all those cups and degres F have really messed up what little baking skills I had...

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  24. This is such a fab idea will have to rem it for next year!

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  25. I think that's the cutest Valentine baking idea I've EVER seen :)

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