20 February 2012

Downton Abbey: Two Weddings, an Engagement & the Cake

Well Lovelies....here in the States last night we saw the season end to Downton Abbey. Needless, to say it proves while the show is a must see for any Lady or Gentleman, aspiring or otherwise. But my loves let us not forget that all this intrigued started over a marriage which would result in a cake. Now...

Image from Downton Abbey
We were HOPING it would be this marriage {& will/maybe...but until then}, alas the show turned & centered on....

Image from Downton Abbey
this engagement {which ended under the most unpleasant of circumstances}. But before it's demise it spurned.....

Image from Downton Abbey
this rather unholy alliance...

Image from Downton Abbey
to this rather socially opposed union, possibly because of...

Image from Downton Abbey
this love confused match, which resulted in the need for...

Image from Downton Abbey
everything to be right in the world. Even for a minute.

So what do you suppose all these soon to be's or married Abbey residence eat on that once in a lifetime day? As it goes dearies the traditional English wedding cake is a fruit cake with royal icing (even back in 1919).  Tiered of course. I mean really people, they were not barbarians. With that said you need not be getting married to have the enjoyment & delight of a well made fruit cake (please whatever you do get grandma's Christmas fruit cake out of your mind, it will stifle your culinary advancement). Now while I have not cooked Downton Abbey for you this time, I have found you something just as good as Mrs. Patmore.

That would be Nigella Lawson & her fruit cake below. Don't be bashful, she's English & a good cook. Did I mention she's a REALLY good cook?

Image from Nigella. Com

Golden Fruit Cake
Recipe from Nigella Lawson

350g dried pears
250g dried apricots
250g golden sultanas  
175g soft butter
200g sugar
125ml white rum
200g ginger jam or preserve (or use marmalade)
225g ground almonds
35g sesame seeds or mixture of sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds seeds from 3 cardamom pods ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
 3 eggs


75g whole blanched almonds

  1. Roughly scissor the pears and apricots into small pieces and put them into a saucepan with the sultanas, butter, sugar, rum and ginger jam or preserve, or indeed marmalade.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes and then leave to stand for about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. Line the bottom and sides of a 20cm high-sided tin with a double layer of Bake-O-Glide or regular baking parchment; the lining should extend about 10cm above.
  4. Stir the ground almonds, sesame seeds (or a mixture), cardamom seeds and coriander into the cooled saucepan. Beat in the eggs and spoon into the prepared cake tin, smoothing the top.
  5. Starting in the middle, work in concentric circles as you place the blanched almonds on top of the cake batter in decorative rings (rather like a Dundee cake).
  6. Bake for 1 hour 40 minutes, then leave to cool completely in the tin. Once cool, take out of the tin, wrap with baking parchment then foil, before stashing it away in its cake tin or other airtight container. Though, unlike a traditional fruit cake, it doesn’t need to stand before being divinely edible.

Make the cake up to 1 week ahead and wrap in a double layer of greaseproof paper and then a layer of foil. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

For recipe conversions go here.

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