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Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
Jean Cockburn retired from her professional career as an academic librarian in 2008 to become a textile artist living on Denman Island, British Columbia. She draws, quilts, embroiders, knits and crochets, makes wearable art, weaves baskets, dyes fabric, and paints watercolours. Her work has been exhibited locally in juried and group shows on Denman Island, in Courtenay, Comox, and Duncan on Vancouver Island, in West Vancouver, and across Canada with the Surface Design Association.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wonderful eggless cake with fruit or nuts

This is the most delicious cake and it is so easy to make all in one bowl. Cream the butter and sugar with a  mixer if you wish, but mix in the flour by hand as that keeps the batter tender (mixing in the flour by machine inevitably works the gluten too much - great for yeast breads but not for cakes or quick breads).

Use a large bowl to make the mixing easy. Cream 1 cup of softened unsalted butter with 2 cups of sugar. Mix in 2 cups of unsweetened fruit or vegetable puree (applesauce, grated zucchini, pumpkin or squash puree, mashed banana, plum sauce, any kind of jam, grated carrot  or sweet potato or rutabaga- they are all good, but if you use jam them reduce the amount of sugar to 1 cup). Add 1 teaspoon each of salt, vanilla, and several spices of your choice - such as cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, ginger, cardamon . . . and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Add up to 2 cups of chopped fruit and/or nuts - raisins, pecans, walnuts, mixed peel, currants, slivered almonds, prunes, apricots are all possibilities. Lightly mix in 3 cups of flour. Spoon into a large well greased bundt pan and bake at 350 F for an hour. Check with a cake tester after 45 minutes to see if it is cooked in the middle, and if not, give it some more time, up to 1 1/2 hours total. This cake keeps well because of the fruit content.

This cake pictured here was made with squash puree and a cup each of mixed peel and currants. I used 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and mace, 1/2 teaspoon of ginger and 1/8 teaspoon of cardamon. I baked it for 1 hour total, but the batter was warm when I started because I had to defrost the frozen squash puree which was actually hot when I added it to the butter and sugar mix. This probably shortened the baking time.

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