"It makes a very nice gift and/or it is great to have on hand as a coffee or tea cake.
And it is easy to make."
This month, for my installment with The Cake Slice Bakers, it was all about what I had in the cupboards. I haven't baked properly in so long, as in specifically went and bought ingredients for a bake, that I am just going through what I have in stock in the pantry. There's not a lot left these days but as soon as I get over final exams, the inventory will be taken and the stocks replenished.
I loved seeing the chunky rhubarb stalks in the market, bought some knowing that they were going to be some sort of pie or compote. I am the only one in the house who likes rhubarb so I opted for a compote, to keep in the fridge and add to my yoghurt, or toast or cake or anything else I felt I could put compote on!
Maida Heatter sums up this yellow, buttery loaf perfectly in the quote above. It is a cinch to make and is rather delicious with coffee or tea. It's a compact crumb, with a soft, fluffy texture. It may be plain but it is delicious and well worth the make if you have some time to spare!
Just on a by the by... and I don't want you to think I am telling you your business. But, don't ever throw out your vanilla pods. Once you have scraped out all those yummy beans keep those leathery husks. If you don't already, decant your caster sugar into a clip top jar and pop in the bean pods. I collect all mine and it turns the sugar a vanilla flavour. SO MUCH cheaper than buying vanilla sugar too.
5 stalks of Rhubarb
juice of one large lemon
150g vanilla sugar
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F or gas mark 4.
Top, tail and rough cut your rhubarb to about 2cm chunks and pop them into an oven proof dish.
Squeeze over the lemon juice and toss the rhubarb in it.
Sprinkle over the sugar and ensure an even coating. Put the whole dish, uncovered, into a heated oven for about 20-25 minutes until soft and cooked through.
Once out, allow to cool completely and then you can do one of two things 1. mash it up chunky with a fork like I do or 2. blitz it with a hand held blender for a finer finish.
The choice is yours.
English Madeira Loaf
adapted from Maida Heatters Cakes pg 31
320g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch sea salt
170g soft butter
2 tsp vanilla
150g caster sugar
3 large free range eggs
Preheat your oven to 180C/350For gas mark 4 and line a 1lb loaf tin with a loaf liner or parchment paper. Leave enough hanging over the sides, so you will be able to lift the loaf out easily. Set the tin to one side.
In a small bowl, dry whisk the flour, baking powder and the salt.
In another bowl and with your mixer, soften the butter for a few minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Add the vanilla and then sugar and cream together until smooth and pale in colour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all the eggs have been incorporated, beat the mixture on high for about 5 minutes until a very pale cream colour and almost liquid.
Add the flour mixture in 3 separate stages with the mixer on low-speed alternating with the milk.
Give the loaf batter a final stir with the spatula, ensuring all the sides have been scraped down and spoon into your loaf tin. Smooth over the top of the cake, ensuring it gets into the corners of the tin.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, depending on your oven or until a skewer inserted into the middles of the cake comes out clean.
Once out of the oven leave it in the tin on a wire rack for 15 minutes, until cooled. Remove from the tin then transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
Let me know if you try it or have a peek at what the rest of the gang are up to!