Tamal is standing out early on for me, but oh I felt for Dorret - "It's NOT just a cake!"
Once again I'm joining in with the brilliant Great Bloggers Bake Off 2015, hosted by
Jenny Paulin of Mummy Mishaps fame and my aim is to join in each week - most of my bakes will be making their way to friends & family, I'm not sure my waistline will survive otherwise! Each week I want to try at least one new technique or recipe, rather than repeating previous bakes.
To ease into things I've chosen this week's Technical Bake - Mary's Frosted Walnut cake. I've taken her recipe, exactly as stated in her book Mary Berrys Ultimate Cake Book, barring one or two amendments that I have shown in brackets. The ease of this recipe is the cake is an all-in-one method, only one mixing bowl required.
Mary Berry's Frosted Walnut Cake
For the Cake
225g/8oz soft margarine (I used 205g softened butter and 20g walnut oil, because I didn't quite have enough butter)
225g/8oz caster sugar
225g/8oz self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
100g walnuts, finely chopped (I just bashed the packet with a rolling pin before opening, giving me a range of walnut sizes)
For the Frosting
2 egg whites
350g/12oz caster sugar
4 tbs water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
For the Decoration
50g caster sugar
handful of walnut halves
Preheat your oven to 160C, grease & line 3 eight inch sandwich tins (I only have two, but the mix is fine left while your first batch bakes)
Combine all your cake ingredients together and mix thoroughly until well combined. Split between your three tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and springy to touch. Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before releasing and allowing to cool completely on a rack.
For the frosting measure all your ingredients into a bowl over a pan of hot water & whisk, using an electric whisk for 10-12 minutes until thick. (My frosting, like many others was grainy. When I make this again I will bring the water to the boil first before placing the bowl over, and whisk on a low setting to give the sugar a chance to dissolve fully. As an added cheat you may be able to use icing sugar rather than caster sugar to give a smooth finish)
Sandwich your layers together with a little of the frosting then use the remainder to cover the tops & side of your cake.
Fix each walnut half to a cocktail stick, leaving as much stick exposed as possible.
Gently heat your caster sugar in a non stick pan, do not stir until the edges start to melt, then gently move the sugar around with a metal spoon until it all melts & reaches a golden brown colour. This will be extremely hot, so use gloves if you wish to protect your hands. Allow the caramel to thicken slightly by taking off the heat. Working carefully dip your walnuts into the caramel and pull out so there is a length of caramel attached. Hold for 20-30 seconds until hard, gently break off your length of caramel and fix the cocktail stick into an upturned orange half until you are ready to decorate your cake. Remove the walnut from the cocktail stick and place in your chosen pattern.
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