Saturday, 21 April 2012


I remember the very first cake my sister made when we got our oven.  It was a sponge cake and that was a real disaster.  The cake became like Nian Gao!  OK, nevermind that was when she was around 15!  We learnt cake baking at school since we took Food and nutrition for our O-Level.  Since then we have been baking a lot of fruit cakes.  Dad and mom are big fruit cake eaters.  They never liked sponges as me and sister do.  I was normally using a basic rich pound cake recipe to make my fruit cake but I personally prefer to have a plain pound cake than a fruit pound cake.  For me a pound cake is made to enjoy the rich buttery flavour and not to have pieces of fruits mingling with the buttery flavour.  So, during the recent years, I have been playing with the proportions of flour, butter, sugar and eggs.

Davies (1999) in the 4th edition of Cooking Explained, gave proportions of ingredients for shortened cakes made by creaming method:


I do not like the plain one because of the high flour content which does not make the cake buttery!  The rich one does not get along with the fruit. So I have started to use the medium one with gave satisfactory results.  Recently, I started to play with the liquid (From warm water to cold water, orange juice, lemon juice, milk, fruit juice and  finally buttermilk) and actually the buttermilk did make my cake softer, as I want it to be.

400 g self-raising flour
300 g caster sugar
300 g butter (Leave at room temperature for 1 hour before using)
300 g lightly beaten egg OR 6 fresh small eggs (At room temperature)
80 ml buttermilk
Dried fruits: 
100 g candied peel
100 g cherries (halved)
50 g blackcurrants

Method (Creaming method)

1.  Grease and flour a 23 cm diameter cake pan.  Sift flour.  

I usually rinse, drain and pat the fruits dry with kitchen paper.  Then I would sometimes place them in the sun for an hour.  I have noticed that too much syrup coating the fruits, especially the cherries and candied fruits, causes them to sink at the bottom.  This time, I was too lazy to rinse and dry the fruits and you are going to see that my cherries have sunk at the bottom.  Coat the fruits generously with 2 tablespoon of the flour you have sifted.  Coating the fruits with flour also prevents them from sinking at the bottom.

2.  Cream the butter and caster sugar together using an electric mixer.  From time to time scrape mixture down sides of bowl.  Continue creaming until mixture is light and fluffy and passes the aeration test.

3.  Beat in equivalent of 1 beaten egg at a time, continuing to beat after each addition until mixture is smooth.  If the mixture is curdling then add a tablespoon of flour.  But if your eggs are at room temperature, you are not supposed to have this problem.

4.  Sift half flour once more, this time directly into the mixture and fold in lightly.  Fold in half of the buttermilk.  Buttermilk makes the end product softer.  You can use home-made buttermilk like I did.

5.  Sift and fold in the remaining flour followed by the buttermilk.

6.  Finally fold in the fruits.  

7.  Spread mixture evenly into the cake pan and bake at 200°C for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 180°C and bake for further 15 minutes.  (I have used my old towel cake strip so that the cake rise evenly with no dome).  The cake is done when a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs adhering to it.  You can also guess if the cake is done by looking at the edges of the cake.  When they start to pull away from the sides of the pan, the cake is done.  Avoid over-baking, if you want a soft and moist cake.

8.  Allow the cake to cool before un-moulding.

So.... here it is.  Can you see that the cherries have sunk while the blackcurrants were evenly distributed.  I wont be lazy next time and will rinse the excessive syrup around the cherries.

Davies, J. (1999), Hammond's Cooking Explained, 4th edn, Addison Wesley Longman Limited.


  1. I came by to thank you for your visit and following. I like your pictorial, it is so easy to follow. Thanks for the effort. Hope to see you around, we have so much to share:D

    1. Thank you for encouraging me :-) you are so nice ^__^


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