Recipe: Smooth and spicy

We begin our series on spiced breads and cakes with a recipe submitted by Patricia Jeanrenaud of Ramsgate, Kent. 'My mother made this cake when I was young, and I continue because there is nothing else like it,' she writes. Her mother found it in The Joy of Cooking, by Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. Ms Jeanrenaud will receive a bottle of 1989 Bukkuram de Bartoli muscat purchased from Reid Wines in Bristol.

Mrs Jeanrenaud stresses that this cake should be baked in a 9in tube pan or cake ring, to ensure even cooking in the middle. It is a good idea, but not strictly necessary. Our soft British flour, so tricky with bread, is perfect for this recipe. The specification for organic stone- ground flour is mine and, as a regular baker, I cannot stress its importance enough. By comparison, most conventional flours have the goodness (and taste) of sawdust.

I should admit that we received recipes with more interesting ingredients, notably a Scottish treacle and spice cake with ale, which I hope to publish later in this series. However, this one excels in its clear technique. It is a blueprint for any spice cake and one could endlessly dabble with its ingredients.

Start with the flour. For an earthier texture and flavour, a fourth or even a third of the white cake flour could be replaced with soft wholewheat flour, and some of the sugar replaced with honey or honey and treacle. The grated zest of a lemon would lend fragrance and kick. Come to that, a splash of whisky or brandy would not hurt.

The recipe's only ''flaw' is, perhaps, over-cautiousness. Provided the cook uses buttermilk or yoghurt, only 1tsp of bicarbonate of soda should be necessary as a raising agent. I tested it that way and it rose well. Those who prefer belt and braces, or those attempting to replace buttermilk or yoghurt (which will react naturally with the bicarb) with sweet milk, should use both the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda listed below.

Velvet Spice Cake

Yield: 1 x 2lb (1kg) loaf; serves 10

Ingredients: 12oz (340g) organic stoneground cake flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

6oz (170g) soft butter

8oz (230g) caster sugar

3 large eggs

7oz (200g) yoghurt or buttermilk

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350F/ 180C/gas 4. Grease and lightly flour baking tube, shaking off excess flour. Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt, then sift again. Separate eggs, placing whites in a clean, dry mixing bowl. In another bowl, cream together butter, caster sugar and egg yolks. Add sifted ingredients gradually to butter mixture, alternating with additions of milk or yoghurt, ensuring each time that the batter is smooth. Whisk egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold them into the batter. Retaining their structure is important: they help to aerate the cake.

Pour batter into cake tin and bake immediately for 1 hour, or until a skewer poked in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes on a rack before removing from tin. Dust with icing sugar.

Next week: more spiced breads and cakes. New entries, stating the source, should be sent to: Emily Green, Recipe, Weekend Features, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB. Those whose recipes we print will receive a bottle of the above-mentioned figgy Sicilian muscat.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
football

Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
Designer Oscar de la Renta takes a bow after showing his Spring 2015 collection in September, his last show before his death
fashionThe passing of the legendary designer has left a vacancy: couturier to America’s royalty, says fashion editor Alexander Fury
Life and Style
tech

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album