Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Rockin' rock cakes

Apologies for the camera phone photo

Rock cakes are a simple bake. The simplest I can think of in fact. One of the first things I made without parental supervision, and one I revisited this weekend.

The basic recipe is one I bought in a pack on a recent visit to Redbournebury mill. However, I changed it up somewhat to suit an idea I had about flavours. 

Regular readers (and Readers) will know of my obsession with soaking dried fruit. Inspired jointly by the family recipe for Bara brith and Nigella's banana bread, it's rare for me not to soak fruit I'm baking with.  Be it in tea, orange juice, brandy, rum or as in this case,  ginger wine. The swollen fruit, scented with a hint of the liquor make for a soft and juicy addition to any bake.

If I want to speed up the soaking process I warm the liquid and fruit through in a milk pan, removing it from the heat as it comes to the boil and leaving it, covered for an hour or so to swell before draining off any excess and gently folding in the fruit to whatever cake mix I have on the go. On the rare occasions I'm organised I do a 24 hour soak,  again covered but left at room temperature - no additional heating required. Longest of all is the 3 month soak of the fruit for my Christmss cake.

I barely cover the fruit in the liquid - we're aiming for softly swollen, not drunken smush.

Ginger rock cakes

270g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
80g butter
70g caster sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinammon
pinch ground cloves
90 ml milk and egg (beaten together)
80g of sultanas - or 40g of sultanas and 40g crystallised ginger
Ginger wine - enough to just cover the fruit when in a teacup or mug
Pinch of salt
Demerera sugar for sprinkling

Put the dried fruit in a small bowl, cover with the ginger wine and leave to soak as above.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C
Rub the butter, sugar and flour in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the salt, spices and baking powder
Add the egg and milk mix and use your hands to bring the sticky mix together
Stir in the dried fruit
Put dessert spoon sized dollops on a baking tray or cookie sheet you've lined with parchment. Spred them around 2 inches apart
Sprinkle with demerara sugar
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on top
Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack

Serve warm with a pot of strong tea and a good gossip

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