I love how a recipe that might sound a bit plain at the start can end up completely blowing your mind once you’ve given it a go. This is one of those rare cakes that most people would pass by thinking it’s a bit plain, or a little bit ‘healthy’ perhaps. But shame on them as they are going to miss out on one of the lightest, most flavourful and delightfully textured cakes in the entire world. There isn’t any butter or oil in this cake but the trick is that you need to beat the eggs a lot. Even when you think you have beaten it enough, keep going and probably it still won’t be enough. I was using a handmixer (the fiancé says we don’t have room in the kitchen for a lovely KitchenAid mixer, boo) and was literally beating the eggs for almost 45 minutes!
I got a copy of Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet a couple of months ago and I have used it almost every weekend, it is that good. It’s an epic cookbook, very comprehensive and thorough without being too dictatorial or overbearing. Most of all, the recipes featured are a little different from your average baking book – featuring many rye-based and gluten-free recipes, yet never compromising on taste or flavour. A lot of the recipes have quite intriguing combinations, and I think there is an excellent balance between traditional or classic, basic and recipes that appeal to the more adventurous baker. I have already Post-it noted heaps of recipes in the book that I am planning to try in the next few months, tonight we are making the sour cream bread, tomorrow I am making the passion fruit melting moments, then later this month I’ve got my eye on the bourbon pecan brownies and that quinoa hazelnut cake … (drools).
Cinnamon cake with blackberries
4 medium eggs, at room temperature
200g caster sugar
50g golden syrup
150g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
100ml cold milk
a small tub of double cream
1 punnet of blackberries
Line the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin with parchment paper and heat the oven to 180°C. Beat the eggs with the sugar and syrup using your electric mixer until pale, extremely frothy and thick. The mix should fall like thick ribbons when the beaters are lifted from the bowl.
Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon once (adding any bran that the sieve collects back in). Add the milk to the beaten eggs and whisk, then add the flour and whisk once more until just smooth.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 35 minutes, covering the top of the cake with foil for the last 10 minutes if it gets too brown. Test for doneness with a skewer (if, when inserted it comes out with just a few tiny crumbs stuck to it this means it is done) and remove from the oven, leaving to cool. Whip the cream lightly, halve the blackberries and then slice the cake into two layers. Fill with the cream and the fruit, reassemble the cake and dust lightly with the icing sugar.
Recipe from Short and Sweet: The Best of Home Baking, Dan Lepard (Fourth Estate, 2011)