Apricot, Apple and Pecan Loaf
Everyone loves this cake, which is rather special, full of good wholesome ingredients and so easy to make. To ring the changes you could use soft prunes and walnuts in place of the apricots and pecans, plus one rounded teaspoon of mixed spice.
|175g pecan nuts|
|110g wholemeal flour|
|110g plain flour|
|a pinch of salt|
|1½ level teaspoons baking powder|
|2 rounded teaspoons ground cinnamon|
|110g spreadable butter|
|175g light brown soft sugar|
|2 large eggs, beaten|
|3 tablespoons milk (plus a little extra if needed)|
|175g ready-to-eat dried apricots, each chopped in half|
|175g Bramley apples, cored and cut into 1cm chunks with the skin on|
|For the topping:|
|2 level tablespoons demerara sugar|
|¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon|
|Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4|
|Need help with conversions?|
|Equipment: You will need a Delia Online/Silverwood loaf tin (or a standard 2lb loaf tin), lined with a 2lb traditional loaf tin liner |
This recipe is from Delia's Cakes
First of all, when the oven has pre-heated, spread the nuts out on a baking sheet and toast them lightly for about 8 minutes, using a timer so that you don’t forget them. After that remove them to a chopping board, let them cool a bit, then chop them roughly.
Meanwhile take a large mixing bowl and sift the two flours, salt, baking powder and cinnamon into it, holding the sieve up high to give the flour a good airing (adding the bran from the sieve to the bowl as well).
Then simply add the rest of the ingredients except the fruit and nuts.
Using an electric hand whisk, begin to beat the mixture on a slow speed, then increase the speed to mix everything thoroughly till smooth.
Lightly fold in the apricots, apples and pecans. When everything’s folded in, add a drop more milk if necessary to give a mixture that drops easily off the spoon when you give it a sharp tap.
Combine the cinnamon and sugar together. Pile the mixture into the lined tin, level the top with the back of a tablespoon and sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar.
Bake the loaf on a lower shelf so the top of the tin is aligned with the centre of the oven for about an hour, then cover loosely with a piece of foil and leave to bake for a further 15–30 minutes or until the cake feels springy in the centre.
When it’s cooked, remove it from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before turning it out onto a wire cooling rack, leaving it in its liner.
Let it get completely cold before transferring to a cake tin.
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If I had a pound for every... goes the old cliche. So here it goes again. If only I had a pound for everyone who has praised this cake, rich pickings! Although it is made here with butter and lard, you could make it with spreadable butter.
There are many versions of this and the type of tea used varies from what I call common tea to… you name it. But more importantly we have crammed in as much fruit as we could. Thus it keeps very moist and, later on, toasts beautifully.
I have fond memories of my friend Molly Owen, who gave me this recipe. On paper it may sound a bit unlikely, but just you wait.
This cake, originally from the sugar-and-spice island of Jamaica, has sadly become a factory-made clone, but made at home it’s dark, sticky, fragrant with ginger – the real thing.
It’s the dates (as in the famous pudding) that give this dark, sticky cake its toffee flavour, which is complemented beautifully by the fudge-flavoured icing.
A bit of a plain Jane, you might think. But we still all love it. There are times when a piece of really good plain cake is all you want. In this case I would choose to serve it with a glass of chilled Madeira wine.
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