Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake

Every year, a week or two before the day, I start asking Jonty what kind of birthday cake he might like. Either a specific cake, or general flavours. Usually, I get a generic response that often includes the word chocolate. So I was quite surprised this year when he said he might like a Battenberg Cake (he’s never been so specific before).

A What-en-what Cake? You know, those checker-board cakes!

Ah yes, I did know. I have never eaten one, let alone actually made one, but that’s what Google is for, right? 🙂

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The classic Battenberg Cake has a white and pink checker board pattern inside and is held together with apricot jam and covered in Marzipan. It is most-definitely British in origin, making it a perfect choice for my British hubby!

When I started poking around online, my suspicions were confirmed – the pink portion of the cake is dyed with red food colouring. I prefer not to use artificial dyes, if possible. Also, my mind immediately went to a chocolate variety because, if you know Jonty at all, you know his love for chocolate.

And what jam pairs well with chocolate? You guessed it. And so began my Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake journey.

I’m not going to lie – this cake requires a tape measure, a calculator and a bit of patience. But I promise you it’s not difficult! The hardest part might be making your foil / parchment liner and really, that portion probably took me longer than necessary because I was multi-tasking while making it. The good thing is that it is absolutely worth the time and effort.

So, here’s my version of a Battenberg Cake, in a nutshell.

Start by prepare a 23-cm (9-inch) square cake pan:

  • Grease the bottoms and sides of the cake pan.
  • Cut a piece of tinfoil and a piece of parchment paper into a 21cm x 42cm rectangle. Grease the tinfoil and place the parchment paper on top.
  • Fold the tinfoil / parchment in half, and then fold the centre over again to make a crease that is 5 cm wide. When you unfold the papers, the centre should pop up like a little tent. When you place this into your cake pan, this little tent will become the divider (see the pictures below).
  • Place this liner into your pan and start making the batter.

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Make the cake batter:

  • The cake batter is a simple sponge cake recipe (so equal ratios of butter, eggs, sugar and flour). Half of the mixture is poured into one side of the prepared tin, and cocoa powder is mixed into the other half of the batter before pouring it into the other side.
  • Cream together some butter and sugar until it’s super light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and make sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next. If you don’t, your batter may look like it’s curdling. If this happens, just keep beating the mixture before adding the next egg.
  • The vanilla, flour and baking powder is added and whisked until combined.
  • Transfer half of the batter into another bowl (if you have a scale, this becomes really easy) and add a splash of milk.
  • In the remaining batter, the cocoa powder and more milk is added, and stirred to combine.
  • Each of the batters is poured into its respective cake pan side, and is baked at 350 F for about 28 to 30 minutes.

Assemble the Battenberg cake:

  • Time to get out your tape measure! Measure the height and width of each sponge cake, and decide how much you need to trim off the edges, in order to make the cake a square.
  • My sponges were wider than tall, but I didn’t waste a lot of extra cake, so I decided to make my Battenberg into a 3×2 rectangle, instead of the classic 2×2 square. The choice is yours!
  • Warm up some raspberry jam and use this as a glue to hold the cake pieces together.
  • On a counter sprinkled with icing sugar, roll out your marzipan into a rectangle, big enough to wrap around the cake (so the same length + 4 times the width).
  • Spread jam on the top of your cake, then invert this onto one end of the marzipan. Spread jam on the next side of the cake, then roll it onto the marzipan. Do this until all sides of the cake are spread with jam and covered with marzipan.
  • Trim off the ends, to make everything nice and neat, and to show off your great checker board pattern!

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You can eat this cake right away, or keep it tucked in the fridge until you’re ready for it. We nibbled away on it over the course of 3 or 4 days, and it almost tasted better the longer it sat! We just made sure to wrap it tightly in parchment paper to keep it from drying out.

So, what was the verdict for this Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake?

Jonty loved it, and said it tasted just as good as he always remembered!

Moira loved it, and actually wants to make it again, because she’s pretty sure she can do an even better job the next time around!

I would call that a Birthday Success 🙂

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Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The classic Battenberg Cake takes on a twist, with chocolate and raspberry. Adapted from Baking Mad and Jamie Oliver recipes.
Ingredients
  • 150 g flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp milk, divided
  • 1 tbsp dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 100 to 125 g raspberry jam (plus a few drops of water)
  • 225 g marzipan
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
Prepare the cake pan:
  1. Grease the bottoms and sides of a 23-cm (9-inch) square pan.
  2. Cut a piece of tinfoil and parchment paper into a 21cm x 42cm rectangle. Grease the tinfoil and place the parchment paper on top.
  3. Fold the papers in half, then fold the centre over again to make a 5cm overlap. When you open the tinfoil/parchment paper, you should have an inverted tent in the centre. This becomes your cake pan divider.
  4. Place this into your greased cake pan and start making the batter.
For the cake batter:
  1. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each egg into the batter before adding the next egg. Then add in the vanilla extract.
  4. Whisk in the flour mixture until it is fully combined.
  5. Transfer half of the batter into another bowl. To this, add 1 tsp of milk.
  6. In the remaining batter, add the cocoa powder and remaining tsp of milk. Whisk to combine.
  7. Pour each batter into its respective side of the prepared cake pan. Bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake pan cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the sponges from the pan and allow to cool completely.
To assemble the cake:
  1. Warm the raspberry jam with a few drops of water
  2. Slice each flavour of sponge cake into equal sizes, trimming off the edges in order to make them square.
  3. Place a chocolate and vanilla slice side by side and use the raspberry jam to glue the pieces together. Do this with the remaining pieces, making sure to alternate the colours.
  4. Roll out the marzipan on a counter top lightly sprinkled with icing sugar. The size of the marzipan should be the same length as your cake and 4 times the width.
  5. Spread more jam on the top of your cake, then invert this onto one edge of the marzipan. Spread jam on the next side of the cake before rolling it over the marzipan. Continue to do this for the remaining two sides of cake. So the entire cake will be covered with marzipan, and held together with the raspberry jam.
To serve:
  1. Trim off both ends of the cake, to even them up. Place the cake, seam side down, on a serving platter.
  2. Serve immediately, or allow to chill in the fridge before slicing.
Notes
This cake tastes even better on the day after baking. To store in the fridge, wrap it completely in parchment paper and place in a sealed container. It should keep like this for 3 or 4 days.

Enjoy this Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake!

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Carrot-Cranberry Snacking Cake

I know the words Healthy and Cake are often mutually exclusive. But in this case, I’m going out on a limb and stating, for the record, that I think this Carrot-Cranberry snacking cake is a wonderfully healthy cake. We’re not vegan or vegetarian (although this cake falls into both categories), and we don’t completely shun the sweet treats (although we’re pretty good at limiting those to the weekends). However, every now and then, it’s nice to bake something that we can nibble on during the week that is healthy yet feels like a treat.

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This cake has no refined sugar and relies mainly on the natural sweetness of the fruits and vegetables you put into it. I made this a few weeks ago, sliced it up, and tucked it away in the freezer to nibble on when cravings strike. It’s lasted beautifully and, dare I say, the flavour even improved as it sat!

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With every bite, I’m sure I sound like a broken record, repeatedly telling Jonty that I still can’t believe there is nothing “unhealthy” in this cake! I first saw this in the My New Roots cookbook. If you don’t have it, I would urge you to give it a browse. There are so many great recipes in there, all plant-based, but easy to modify if you want to include other meat additions.

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In the cookbook, this was intended as a loaf. Aside from turning it into a snacking-cake recipe, I also decreased the amount of maple syrup and added toasted coconut. Both were well-received 🙂

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We love a nice tart treat, thus this snacking cake was an instant hit: the balance of the sweet and tart being just right, when you think the fresh cranberries are going to be too sour, you get a hit of sweetness from the roasted carrot and maple syrup. Being chock-full of vitamins A and C and numerous health-promoting antioxidants, doesn’t hurt, either!

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I tell you, this is most definitely something you can eat for breakfast and not feel guilty about! Let us know how it turns out for you 🙂

Carrot-Cranberry Snacking Cake
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks, Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Based on the Carrot-Cranberry Loaf from My New Roots
Ingredients
  • 14 g (1 tbsp) chia seeds
  • 80 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 55 g (1/4 cup) melted coconut oil
  • 120 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 180 g (1½ cups) sprouted spelt flour
  • 50 g (1/2 cups) large-flake oats
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground, dried ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 140 g (1½ cups, or 2 medium) grated carrots
  • 80 g (3/4 cup) fresh or frozen cranberries (not dried)
  • 15 g (1/4 cup) large flake coconut, toasted
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 360 F and grease an 8 x 8 inch pan, or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the chia seeds and milk and leave to sit for 15 minutes or so, until the mixtures starts to gel.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, oats, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking powder and sea salt). Add in the grated carrot and stir to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, orange zest and vanilla. Pour in the chia seed and milk mixture and whisk to combine.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add in the fresh cranberries and toasted coconut flakes and mix.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared 8 x 8 inch pan.
  7. Bake at 360 F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle, comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool in the par 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
I baked this cake at 360 F, because our oven runs cool. If you bake at 350 F, you might have to increase the bake time slightly.

This cake freezes extremely well. Allow to cool completely, then cut into slices, wrap well and store in the freezer in a sealed ziplock bag.

Enjoy!

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Strawberry Cookies and Cream Cake

We were off on vacation last week, during which we celebrated Jonty’s birthday. It felt like a leisurely birthday week, filled with some climbing, some van work, a few nibbles around town and a craft beverage or two – all the makings of a good stay-cation.

His request for a birthday cake was remarkably similar to last year – chocolate, fruit and cream. The wheels have been turning for almost 2 weeks, trying to decide on the perfect cake, scouring my cookbooks and Pinterest for inspiration. I feel like birthdays are the one occasion per year that deserves a special cake, so the pressure is on (in my head) to make sure it’s a cake worthy of a celebration!

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My thought process behind making a birthday cake is often a rambling jumble of ideas that percolate in my mind for well-over a week. Silly, perhaps, but that’s the way I roll 🙂 The thought process this year:

  • Making a chocolate cake is always a given for Jonty’s birthday, but only as a single-layer cake this year. I did a double layer cake last year and, really, it’s better for a crowd.
  • Strawberries are a given, as I used raspberries last year. Also, the first crop of BC strawberries are out, and they just taste so darned good!
  • Jonty wants cream – should I do ice cream, whipped cream, something else?
  • I want the top to look fancy. Think, Moira, think!

Perhaps it was the result of the pint of ice cream we had a few weeks ago, but the idea of a Cookies and Cream cake struck a soft spot in my tummy and I rolled with it.

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So, as a result of too much over-thinking, Jonty’s birthday cake idea was born! A classic chocolate cake, smothered in a not-too-sweet mascarpone icing, and topped with local BC strawberries and crumbled cacao-nib cookies.

It sounds like a mouthful, because it is a mouthful! A very delicious mouthful 🙂

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If you want to make everything from scratch, it is a 2-day process, but most of that time is passive chilling / cooling time. The cookies are simple slice-and-bake cookies, but the dough does require time to chill in the freezer (at a minimum, 30 minutes). If you want, you can also bake the cake the day before and keep it, well-covered, in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble. To keep things simple, I made the cookies and cake the night before and as a result, making the cake felt quite easy!

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This Cookies and Cream cake is rich and chocolately, with sweet strawberries and the tangy mascarpone icing. If you wanted to do a super-simple version of this, the chocolate cake + sliced strawberries + a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream would be equally fantastic!

Strawberry Cookies and Cream Cake
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The cake was adapted from this Joy the Baker recipe.
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 135 g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) all-purpose flour
  • 20 g (1/4 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 175 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 125 g (1/2 cup) warm water
  • 6 g (1 tbsp) instant espresso powder
  • 65 g (1/4 cup + 1 tbsp) melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the decoration:
  • 175 g mascarpone cheese
  • 40 g (2 tbsp) icing sugar
  • 10 g (2 tbsp) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 - 4 tbsp milk
  • 150 g (1 cup) quartered strawberries
  • 8 - 10 chocolate cacao cookies, crumbled (recipe below, or chocolate cookies of your choice)
Instructions
  1. If you are making the cookies from scratch, make the cookie dough at least a day before you want to make the cake, as these slice-and-bake cookies require the dough to be frozen before baking. If you are using other cookies, you can just bake the cake.
For the cake:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F and line a 8-inch square pan (or 9-inch circular pan) with parchment paper. Mist lightly with a neutral cooking oil and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt.
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, warm the coconut oil and water. Add the espresso powder and vanilla and mix together.
  4. Add the water mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Leave to cook in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on the rack.
  7. If you are decorating the cake on the same day, wait until the cake has cooled completely before decorating. If not, the cake can be wrapped well and stored in the fridge for a day.
For the decoration:
  1. Make the icing by beating together the mascarpone cheese, icing sugar and cocoa powder.
  2. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until your desired consistency is achieved. I added enough to make the icing spreadable, but fairly thick.
  3. Once ready to decorate the cake, spread the mascarpone icing on the cake. Break the cookies into pieces and scatter across the icing. Add the sliced fresh strawberries.
Notes
We do not like our icing very sweet. Feel free to increase the amount of icing sugar, if you prefer a sweeter icing. Keep in mind, however, that your fruit should already be quite sweet.

Cacao Nib Cookies
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The cookie recipe was modified from this Rachel Cooks recipe.
Ingredients
  • 120 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 45 g (1.5 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 65 g (1/4 cup + 1 tbsp) sugar
  • ½ tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour and salt.
  2. Cream together the butter and cream cheese for a few minutes, until light.
  3. Add the sugar and vanilla until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Shape the dough into a log shape and wrap in parchment paper. Freeze at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 weeks.
  5. When you are ready to bake the cookies, pre-heat the oven to 350 F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  6. Remove the cookie dough from its wrapping and slice into 5 mm thick discs. Press the cacao nibs onto each side of the cookies before baking.
  7. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, on a parchment-lined tray, until golden at the edges.
  8. Let cool completely before using on the cake.
Notes
The cookie dough can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 weeks before baking.

Happy Birthday, Jonty!

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Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake with Zesty Lime Icing

It’s Friday, and I think we all deserve a piece of cake going into the weekend, wouldn’t you agree? This lemon poppy-seed cake is another of Jonty’s tasty creations. He has completely mastered the sponge cake, so now he can start to play around with the flavours a bit more.

Lemon and poppy-seed is a classic combination, but we were looking for the perfect union of sweet and tart, with an emphasis on the tart. While we have a bit of a sweet tooth (Jonty is the ring-leader), we don’t like sickly-sweet desserts. A really tart lemon / lime flavour with a dollop of something sweet, is almost perfection to me (maybe that’s why I love our lemon meringue pie so much)! It may have taken a few tries to balance the sweet-tart, but once again, we found something we think is spot-on!

As with all sponge cake recipes, there is an equal ratio of butter, eggs, flour and sugar, making it a really easy recipe to remember and to scale. The add-ins are there when you want to change things up a bit. In this case, we added poppy seeds and lemon juice.

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Eaten at room temperature or straight from the fridge (where it turns into a wonderfully dense, almost fudgy cake), this is a perfect spring time treat to enjoy with a good cup of coffee.

It’s also a great reward after a hard day of climbing, or making a van floor, or hoisting a 100-pound awning onto the top of an 11-foot-high van! Really, I guess I’m trying to say that this is a great anytime cake 🙂

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Enjoy the weekend!

Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake with Zesty Lime Icing
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
For the lemon poppy-seed cake:
  • 4 eggs + 1 egg yolk (200 g), at room temperature
  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced (plus zest of 2 lemons)
  • ¼ cup poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 5 g baking powder (2.5% weight of the flour)
For the zesty lime icing
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 - 2 tbsp fresh lime juice (~1 or 2 limes, depending on how juicy they are)
  • 1 lime, zested
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and line only the bottom of a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper, not the sides.
  2. In a small bowl, melt the butter and allow it to cool slightly. Add the lemon juice and zest.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and poppy seeds and set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt on high speed, until the mixture is pale and fluffy. While the mixer is running on high-speed, add the flour mixture, then the butter mixture. As soon as the last drop of butter has gone in, stop whisking immediately, or else the cake will over-whisk and deflate. If it needs a bit more mixing, use the folding method with a spatula.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and bake in the oven - 5 minutes at 400 F, then reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, or until the centre feels firm and a cake tester comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then remove the cake to cool completely on the rack.
  7. If you are making the icing, mix together the icing sugar, lime juice and lime zest. The mixture will be quite thick. Start with 1 tbsp lime juice and add in ½ tsp increments until you reach your desired consistency. Spread over the slightly-warm cake and allow to cool and harden.
Notes
The amount of icing in this recipe will give a thin layer across the cake. For a thicker layer, simply increase the amount of icing sugar and liquid.

Enjoy!

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Great Northern Parkin Under Wensleydale

Classic British food is probably not on the forefront of people’s minds when they think of really great food. Perhaps it’s because I’m married to a Brit, but I’ve always had a soft spot for it; granted, I did marry into a family of food-lovers, but I dare you to argue with me after eating Sticky Toffee Pudding, or Treacle Sponge, or good-quality classic Fish and Chips, or Yorkshire puddings with roast beef!

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I think the Brits tend to do simple food very well. Actually, looking at my love list above, perhaps they do comfort food very well 🙂

One of these easy recipes is Parkin. It’s a gingerbread cake that originates from Yorkshire in the north of England. There’s nothing terribly special about the ingredient list (oats, flour, eggs, butter, sugar, molasses and ginger), but the unusual thing about this cake is that you leave it to age for a few weeks after it bakes.

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Waiting for this cake is a test of your willpower. Just out of the oven, the smell of the gingerbread is mouth-watering, so you get excited about trying a little piece but, no, you have to wait. And not just until the cake cools. Nope, you have to wait weeks, two or three, to be precise!

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It sounds strange, I know. You leave a cake to sit (in a tightly sealed container, granted) for a few weeks, and it doesn’t go bad or stale?

Nope!

It’s completely counter-intuitive. The cake becomes crumbly the longer it sits, but at the same time it is also slightly dense (in a good way). And as it ages, the sweet molasses and ginger flavours mingle and become more pronounced, to give you a wonderfully rich-tasting cake.

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Last but not least, you cannot eat this cake on its own. No, it must be eaten with cheese, and not just any cheese – it must be eaten with plain Wensleydale (not that weird fruit-laden Wensleydale)… and a cup of tea… preferably on Guy Fawkes Night (but I’m Canadian, so I feel justified in ignoring that last part).

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On a rainy Vancouver day, after three weeks of waiting, there is almost nothing more satisfying than a cup of tea and a slice (or two… or three…) of ginger Parkin under a great wedge of Wensleydale.

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If you’ve never tried it, hopefully I’ve convinced you to give it a whirl. I’m certain you won’t be disappointed 🙂

Classic Parkin Cake
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Modified slightly from a Gary Rhodes recipe in New British Classics
Ingredients
Dry stuff:
  • 200 g (~1.5 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 10 g (~2 tsp) baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 150 g (~1 cup) large-flake oats, processed into a coarse flour (or use oat flour)
Wet stuff:
  • 200 g (150 mL) golden syrup
  • 100 g (70 mL) molasses
  • 200 g (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 200 g (1 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsp skim milk
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 275F and well-grease a 9x13-inch pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Add in the coarsely-ground oats and mix.
  3. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, melt together the golden syrup, molasses, butter and brown sugar. Do not let the mixture simmer or boil, you only want this to melt.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and blend.
  5. Add in the beaten eggs and milk, mix to combine.
  6. Pour the batter into the well-greased 9x13-inch pan and bake for 75 minutes, or until the centre of the cake is firm to the touch.
  7. Leave the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes, before turning it out to finish cooling.
  8. Place the cake in an air-tight container and leave at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks. The closer you leave the cake to 3 weeks, the better the flavour will be.
Notes
We have made this cake in a 9x13x2-inch pan as well as a 5x11x3-inch loaf pan, and both have turned out great.
If you bake it in the deeper loaf pan, be prepared to increase the baking time by 15 minutes or so.

Enjoy!

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