February 8, 2012
This is a very old recipe that I got from Blue Peter when I was about 10 years old. As a child I had developed a great dislike of marzipan and wasn’t all that keen on fruit cake so my mum used to bake this cake as an extra cake at Christmas. It was enjoyed by everyone who ate it, as long as we didn’t tell them what the ingredients were!
I was sure that when I got married my wedding cake would be a huge mayonnaise cake but fate and the generosity of friends meant that I ended up with a beautifully decorated traditional wedding cake so I cut it with grace and didn’t eat any of it. We still have a huge chunk of it wrapped in tin foil in the under stairs cupboard!
Now I bake this cake for birthdays or big treats and we love it with cream and strawberries in the summer. It was in imperial back then and I still think in ounces so here it is in all its glory:
10 oz plain flour
8 oz sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
7oz mayonnaise (not a low fat one)
4tbsp cocoa powder
8 floz boiling water
1tsp vanilla essence
Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the sugar.
Then add the mayonnaise and mix it all up until it looks a bit like breadcrumbs.
Add the cocoa powder to the hot water and pour this into the bowl along with the vanilla essence. Stir this up until everything is a very dark shiny brown and you can’t see any more breadcrumbs.
Pour into a single tin and cook at Gas 4 180° 375°F for about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cooking time may depend on the size of your tin. You can cook this in a 7″ or 8″ round tin for that long but if you use a bigger tin it will cook more quickly. Check it after an hour and see what you think. The top should have cracks in it and a skewer should come out clean.
This is a dense, sturdy cake that is best served with something like cream or ice cream or mascarpone with fruit on the side.
Here it is in action on El Famosisimo’s 18th birthday dusted with icing sugar and topped with lots of candles that struggled in the breeze.
November 2, 2011
We were away and then we came back. The fruit is the at home bit and there has been sewing too… look out for the soon to be published post entitled “When a metre just isn’t enough”
June 27, 2011
In the small hours of this day, a whole unbelievable eighteen years ago, my eldest boy was born in a little hospital in a noisy part of Mexico City called Iztapalapa.
He was born with the same dark hair he has now and was a true bundle of joy. He was carried all over Mexico, from the city to the Pacific coast then via Guatemala and Belize to the Caribbean coast. I ignored those who wondered why the white girl was breastfeeding and carrying her baby like an indigenous mama and not pushing a pushchair and feeding him Nestle like the educated classes did. I told people that he wouldn’t be able to sleep if he was as uncomfortable as they thought he looked and that he would sleep all night when he was ready to.
Then we came back here, then we went back there, then things went wrong, then we came back here and started all over again from nothing. On paper, his life hasn’t been easy: in reality he thinks he has had a fine time and doesn’t see himself as anything other than who he has become.
In the blink of an eye he is a young man, with a car he is now able to drive on his own, he works, he goes out with friends, he plays guitar and he sings along with any old songs. He is as smart as he always was and I am a bit smarter now than I was back then.
He had some friends over to eat on Saturday night. We had barbecued lamb and spicy chicken as well as Mexican carnitas and pico de gallo with tortillas. Everyone ate their fill and then barely had room for cake and cream and strawberries
EL Famosisimo’s friends are all good natured chaps who always end up telling tall tales and joking around til they are in fits of laughter. They generously humoured the girls while we all ate together then ended up playing outside with them on the scooters and bikes. Look at them here all being silly racing up and down the road together! Mr G and I were laughing on the doorstep watching these huge lads playing with such tiny shrieky, bossy girls.
Tonight he is off to the pub with his passport ready to buy his first legal drink on licensed premises. Where has the time gone?
January 25, 2011
I’ve posted before about adding bias strips to the edge of fabric in one easy move but then I was needing some thin bits of fabric to use in a drawstring bag and I thought I’d show you how to do that with your bias binding foot.
You need a strip of fabric 1″ wide. If you cut it on the straight grain it will go a bit twisty but it will be a bit more rigid. If you cut it on the cross grain (bias) then you will need to press it to get it straight and it might stretch a bit once you’ve sewn it. My strip is cut on the straight grain and isn’t too twisty yet.
Cut your strip to a point at one end to help you get the thing into the foot. Pull it trough a good way so that you have fabric under the needle to start with. Guide the strip into the foot as you sew, keeping it equally spread between top and bottom curvy bits and this is what you get
Raw edged strip in, folded in and stitched down strip out = magic.
Here’s another view
Then, eat biscuits. J is our biscuit maker and these are from a recipe by Hugh F-W that was in the paper this weekend. We didn’t have enough butter so he made half the quantity and didn’t bother separating yolks so just put a whole egg in and the whole amount of vanilla. This may explain the stickiness of the dough and the curvaceous finished biscuit! The jam was a pretty sharp homemade mirabelle jam that has been in the fridge for months.
Jammed and ready for the oven
On the plate
He definitely needs to make more of these. Yum.