Sat, 9 April, 2016
A bucket cake, this, well and truly. Bucket cake, if it needs reminding, is a concoction created by throwing things into a bucket and stirring them around a bit before baking. Mary Berry being the bucket specialist.
I’ve made this in the past several times and however popular the cake was (you can never have too many raisins, the Weather Man says), I wasn’t as pleased since it would come out with slightly underbaked gloop in the middle. We’d then start the cake from both ends and politely ignore the centre fiasco. I must say I quite like those gloopy bits, after all I’m of the ‘it’s so delicious what’s the point of baking the mix’ school of thought. But it’s not for show and not to be proud of. I bet I couldn’t produce said gloop on purpose if I bent over backwards.
The solution came in the Bundt, or angel cake, or tube cake tin. Figures – leave the middle alone and the cake will bake better all round, not having to struggle with gloopy middle. Good result and wholly recommended also for other cakes which might tend to go squidgy: banana for one.
I ummed and erred a bit over the various recipes around and in the end threw an egg into the mix, another effort to hold the gloop. It does improve the bake but takes away authenticity – the cake apparently came about in the post-war egg and milk scarcity and had shortening instead of butter…
The basic recipe I used is at allrecipes.
raisin cakeTime: 1 hour 20 minutes
- 1 ½ cup raisins
- 2 cups water
- 120g butter
- 200g sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 260g flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
1. Place the raisins and water in a large pan (you’ll be mixing the cake in the same pan), bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add the butter and sugar and leave to cool to barely warm.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Butter and flour a 21cm Bundt tin, or a standard loaf tin.
3. Mix the flour with the spices, baking powder, soda and salt. Beat the egg into the raisin mixture, add the flour mix and beat in well with a spatula or an electric mixer. It will be very runny.
4. Pour it into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin, then carefully turn it out onto a plate. Dust with icing sugar or drizzle with icing.