Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A Cherry and Almond cake is no place for a potato.

My love affair with vegetables - in cake baking terms - is over. I have recently been flushed by the success of the chocolate cake which uses squash and ground almonds instead of butter, and the peach and poppy seed muffins which employ sweet potato to provide their moistness to winning effect. But my attempt to produce a cherry and almond cake with the aid of little more than a maris piper has pushed me over the edge. I had an ominous feeling about it as I was finely grating the potato. Though moist, it seemed powdery and unappealing. I was also using my new electric hand mixer for the first time (more about this later), and admit that I may have over-beaten, revelling as I was in the new sensation of not getting a sore arm whilst whisking. The recipe also insisted that glace cherries should be used to spike the almond sponge. Hmmm. I was unconvinced, never having been a fan of their sticky sweetness. So anyway - the cake comes out of the oven, and looks a treat - a furtive prod does not belie the disappointment to come. I cool, stick the layers together with good cherry jam and liberally sprinkle with toasted almonds, icing sugar and a little cinammon. It's as pretty as a picture. I take it to my cousin's house later that day for a tea party, and impatiently wait until the first slice is served. The reaction is positive, but I'm gutted - it's as dry as a bone, and heavy too. The flavour's nice, but boy it would have been sooo much improved with 125g of butter. And I think drained tinned cherries would have worked better too - so what if some liquid seeps into the sponge? I'll try it again, but with some distinct modifications. Or just forget this recipe and revert to my failsafe, and unendingly delicious cherry and polenta cake (not a potato in sight).

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