Bank Holiday weekend and lots of visitors squeezed into our little house. Everyone huddled around the table for breakfast. We even managed to get a mattress into my tiny study.
I baked a Sour Cherry Cake; a Madeira sponge, dusted with icing sugar and then topped with bottled sour cherries, the kind you can find in Polish delicatessens, and jelly made by thickening the juice with arrowroot.
And because somebody special, only likes white deserts I made a Lemon Crunch Flan. Actually it’s yellow…but the next best thing. I even got the piping bag out of the cupboard to decorate it with cream in an attempt to whiten it a little more. This is a really old school recipe. It’s not very healthy but easy to make and lovely and tangy.
Sour Cherry Cake
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 large eggs
125g caster sugar
5 tablespoons of milk
Natural vanilla extract
A little almond extract (optional)
Icing sugar to dust
1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4
2. Prepare a six inch cake tin by rubbing with oil or butter and coating with a dusting of flour to prevent sticking.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
5. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold carefully into the butter/sugar/egg mixture.
6. Add the milk until you have achieved a good dropping consistency.
7. Place the mixture in the baking tin and cook for around 45 to 60 minutes. Gently insert a skewer to check that the cake is cooked.
8. Leave the cake in the tin for about 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
9. Once cooled carefully cut out a circle from the top of the cake and place to one side.
10. Take a large circular cake cutter or use a glass and a sharp knife to cut out a circle in the centre.
11. Drain the cherries (keeping the juice,) and place in the well you have made in the centre of the cake, reserving a few for the top.
12. Place a couple of spoonfuls of arrowroot powder into a small basin and add a little of the juice whilst stirring to ensure there are no lumps.
13. Heat the remainder of the juice in a small saucepan. Pour a little of the warmed juice into the basin with the arrowroot again stirring well.
14. Pour this mixture into the saucepan containing the remaining warm juice and bring to the boil stirring all the time. As soon as it begins to bubble remove from the heat. At this point it should have thickened to a glossy red jelly like sauce.
15. Spoon some of this sauce over the cherries on the cake.
16. Place the ring of sponge on top. Dust with icing sugar.
17. Put a few more cherries into the hole in the top and top with more jelly before placing the final circle of cake on top and giving a final dusting of icing sugar.
18. Then decorate as you like with any more fruit or whipped cream sweetened with a little icing sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract.
Lemon Crunch Flan
150g crushed digestive biscuits
Small can of condensed milk (not evaporated milk) about 150ml
The finely grated rind of one lemon
Six 15ml spoonfuls of fresh lemon juice
1. Melt the butter and add the crushed biscuits.
2. Mix well and press into a flan dish or ring.
3. Lightly whip the cream, then stir in the condensed milk, lemon rind and juice.
4. Beat well until the condensed milk is blended well.
5. Pour into the prepared flan case and leave to set.