Saturday, 8 May 2010

Bakewell experiment

I'm going to be making some cakes for a charity afternoon tea later this month, and so am experimenting with a few new recipes to go with some old favourites. I saw a recipe some time ago which used grated marzipan in a cake batter, and thought that would make a nice bakewell-style cake. But I can't find that recipe, so I tried adapting Apple marzipan cake from UKTV Food.

As I went through the original recipe I found it a bit unclear and difficult in places. Flour and sugar in ml instead of grams is just odd, but seems to have worked. As to the method, I had no chance of "whisking" grated marzipan (which had lumped together) and softened butter. Melted butter, maybe. Then it says to put the egg yolks in the bowl with the marzipan and butter, but do you mix that together immediately or wait for the next ingredients? And even with the yolks, the marzipan mix is claggy and stiff enough that "folding in" the egg whites later is amost impossible without flattening them in the process.

I also (through not reading properly) beat all the air out of the first lot of egg whites after adding the sugar, so had to repeat it, but with only ~60ml of sugar as that's all I had left.

So, a good start but it needs a bit of tweaking I think. Here's my modified recipe...

  • 250g marzipan, chilled and grated
  • 200ml plain flour, sifted
  • 150g butter, liberally softened
  • 60ml caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp seedless raspberry jam
  • icing sugar
  • cold water
  • 6 glace cherries, halved

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C, and line a muffin pan with 12 cases.

Mix together the grated marzipan and butter, and the vanilla extract. Separate the three eggs and combine the yolks into the marzipan mix; reserve the egg whites.

Sift the flour and the baking powder, plus a pinch of salt, into the marzipan mixture, and mix well. It will probably be quite stiff. Persevere :)

Using a clean whisk and bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold in the caster sugar gently, being careful not to knock any air out of the whites. Fold the resulting mixture into the the marzipan mixture, bit by bit. It's not easy but just take it slowly and keep cutting and folding. You might be able to mix an early spoonful in a bit more vigorously to loosen the marzipan mixture - you sacrifice a little of the air in the egg white initially, but I think you will keep more in the long run.

Divide half the mixture between the cases and make a small well in each. Place a blob of raspberry jam (about half a teaspoon) in each and cover with the rest of the mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Ice with plain icing (icing sugar/water) and top with half a glace cherry.

Well, the following day, the verdict is that it's worth the faff! These are delicious sweet, almondy cakes with a nice crumb. They did not need more sugar.

Unfortunately the jam has leaked to the bottom in each case - I am not sure how I can stop this. Perhaps the batter is so light with the egg whites that the jam just sinks? Next time I will try baking them without the jam, then taking out a core, jamming them, and replacing the core before icing them. Not such a "surprise", but better I think.

The cakes only just fill the cases, so perhaps making 10 rather than 12 would be good if I don't manage to increase the volume of batter by retaining the air in the egg whites better next time