Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday baking - ladysmith cake

Ladysmith cake has the flavours of Belgian biscuits - cinnamon, mixed spice and raspberry jam - in a cake. You can use any kind of jam but I used raspberry as it goes well with the spices and I had just the right amount (four tablespoons) to use up.

The mixture wasn't difficult to make but spreading it out in separate layers with jam in the middle was a bit fiddly. Especially because the end result - wobbly, wonky layers - is less than impressive given the time and care that I took!

Despite what the recipe said, this cake didn't keep well. It was soft and delicious straight from the oven, but by the following day it was going stale. I made the mistake of slicing the whole cake into squares before putting into a tin. The cake might stay fresher if you put the whole cake into a tin and slice as-you-go. But I have my doubts, I always find "pound" style cakes like this one with an equal ratio of butter, sugar, flour and eggs quite dry.

If making again I would make it even more Belgian biscuit-y and spice all the mixture instead of leaving half plain. In place of the walnuts I would ice it with pink icing and sprinkle it with pretty pink jelly crystals or coloured sugar. And I would eat it the day it was baked.

As we bake our way through A Treasury of New Zealand Baking...

Ladysmith cake (Alexa Johnson) - week 20

180g flour
1 tbsp (15g) cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
180g butter (at room temperature)
180g sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
4 tbsp raspberry jam
45g walnuts, chopped

Sift flour, cornflour and baking powder together.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, beat in vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time,, beating well after each addition. Carefully fold in dry ingredients and when mixed together, scoop half the mixture into another bowl and sift spices on top and fold through.

Spread the spiced mixture into a greased & lined 18cm square cake tin. Spread the jam over as evenly as you can and then top with the plain cake mixture.

Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the top and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 50-60 minutes. Or until the cake springs back when pressed.

Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.

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