Cake Week

Back in the Kitchen

It’s been a while–taken a bit of a vacation from the British Baking–but I felt the itch to whip something up for a visit from a friend. Beks is one of the best people I know in the world and we have a great time being weird together. Having tea and all the trimmings is one of the things we both love, so we have twice yearly tea parties at my place and go to tea about once a year at one of the local tea shops (there are three good ones locally, and one that is OK, but not amazing). Since she was coming over tonight, I thought it would be fun to make a cake from “The Beginnings” series, which is, weirdly, season 2 of the British Bake Off from 2011. It’s the earliest season we are able to watch in the States right now, so I thought I’d go with that. Season 1 episode 1 is “tea party” which would be PERFECT….if I could watch that season….

The first episode is “Cakes” and they start with an upside down cake. Contestants made theirs with apple & hazelnut, pear & chocolate, kumquat & polenta (bad idea…don’t do that), peach & raspberry, pineapple & passion fruit (man, I wish I could find passion fruit locally!), plum & sour cherry, apple-orange-cranberry, and the all-time worst idea I’ve heard–tomato and ginger. Now, I’m likely biased because I don’t care for tomatoes and I have a mild allergy to ginger, sooo….that’s a no from me.

But for my bake, I didn’t have much in the way of fresh fruit on hand and didn’t want to drive to the store. I knew I had a bunch of dried fruit–just picked up a few things last week–so I looked for a recipe for a dried-fruit upside down cake…and I found one!

First thing, you take 1/3 cup of water and get it boiling, then drop the fruit into it and let it re-absorb the moisture for about 30 minutes. Then you mix in brown sugar and butter. Put the fruit into the cake pan and set aside. You make the cake batter and pour it over the top of the fruit and bake at 350 for 35 minutes or so.

It came out perfectly! We each had a slice after dinner and weighed the pros and cons of the cake. It was moist and cinnamony, but the fruits I chose were perhaps a little tart. A simple frosting swirl would perk it up nicely. It would go great with a cup of tea!