I made another cake from the Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache cook book this afternoon. Actually I ended up making two, because I managed to burn the first one (in retrospect, I think I might have had the oven on oven+grill function, which really does show immense lack of brain...).
This time I tried the sunken apricot and almond cake which looks lovely in the photo, and has the added bonus of not needing any toppings or fillings, so better for diet-type purposes. I made the first one exactly as the recipe (except I only used 1½ tsp of mixed spice because 2 tsp seemed rather a lot, and I left out the almond essence because I don't have any), and the second one used tinned peaches and a vanilla flavoured sponge.
Sunken apricot and almond cake
3 medium free-range eggs
180g caster sugar
200g peeled and finely grated butternut squash
1 tsp almond essence
(i didn't have any)
60g white rice flour (I used brown coz that’s what
200g ground almonds
2 tsp mixed spice (I used 1½ tsp)
2tsp baking powder
!/4 tsp salt
240g tinned apricot halves in juice, drained
icing sugar to dust
you will also need:
a 23cm-diameter x 7cm-deep loose bottomed tin or ten 8cm x 5cm-deep loose-bottomed fluted tart tins
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4
If you are using one large tin, simply line the base with baking parchment. Lightly grease the parchment and the sides of the tin. If you are using mini tart tins, don't bother lining them with baking parchment (life is just too short for this). Instead, make sure that you are thorough when it comes to brushing a little oil around the sides and the base. If your sides are fluted, go into the pipes thoroughly with the brush to avoid any sticking later on.
Whisk the eggs and sugar for 4 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the grated butternut squash and the almond essence, then whisk briefly to combine. Add the flour, ground almonds, mixed spice, baking powder and salt, then give it a final whisk to make sure that all the ingredients are well introduced to one another.
Pour this mixture into the prepared tin and place the apricots hither and thither in the cake batter, letting them sit as if cushioned by the mixture, which will puff up around them. If using individual tins, aim for up to two or three apricot halves per tartlet. Put in the middle of the oven and bake the big cake for 45 minutes or the smaller ones for 35 minutes.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the large tin. If you have used small fluted tins, simply insert the tip of a skewer or fork into each of the flutes and ease the cake away from the sides. In both cases, let the cake stand in the tin for 5 minutes to settle before sieving over the icing sugar.
Serve warm straight away or cold later on. This cake is delicious accompanied by apricot or almond ice cream.Per slice, this cake has 269kcal and 12.8g saturated fat, which works out at 6½ WW points.
Well, the image in the book looks like this:
My apricot version, however, came out looking like this:
So I lowered the oven temperature even more (to about 165C - I have a fan oven so you have to knock 5 -10 degrees off at the outset) and tried again with the peach version (and covered it with a butter paper). And got this:
Actually after 45 minutes it wasn't cooked and was completely un-browned, so I took off the butter paper and gave it another 15 minutes in the oven (including about 3-4 with the oven+grill function on to help it along and me peering anxiously through the door lest I burnt it).
We tried both cakes with a blob or two of ice cream, and they went down well with Mr G and his friend C, who thought that the apricot/spice version could still have done with more spice (but conversely the more I eat spice cakes, the more I go off them), and I felt both cakes could have done with a bit of acidity (perhaps using fresh fruit next time will help), but the sponges were very light and moist.
Harry always says to oil or grease the baking parchment but I never bother (the brand I buy says it doesn't need it) and there were no problems getting the paper off. I think I will make this cake again but try it with fresh fruit (fresh cherries might work very well) and, of course, put the oven on the right setting. The only downside to this cake (and in fact the cup cakes I made the other day) is the mess. Perhaps it's just me, but every time I seem to end up covered in grated squash.
Now we just need to plough our way through this mountain of cake...