Thursday, 4 July 2013

Paddington Bear Tea Loaf

I've been wanting to make marmalade for months and months now but there is a little problem in that we aren't big marmalade eaters in our house. There is also the slight issue in that the jams I have made in the past have never been quite the right consistency (see my post on Smooth Bramble Berry Jam as evidence of that) and to buy lots of oranges and spend so much time making the marmalade could get quite expensive. However, my mum knows how much I love to experiment and play through my baking so one shopping trip to Meadowhall she bought me one of those tins of prepared fruit from Lakeland that you just boil up with some sugar to produce supposedly perfect jams or marmalades. I was the definition of eagerness to get started but then realised that we already had some marmalade open in the cupboard so I've been waiting and waiting for it to be used up. As much as I think doorstep slices of toast are perfect for trowelling on the likes of Nutella and sugary preserves (am I also allowed to say Marmite?) I know that the effect of eating said foods everyday for breakfast and lunch would not be very positive so I thought I had better come up with something else that uses up lots of the lovely orangey stuff (or lemony or limey if you are that way inclined). It is a cross between a Welsh bara brith and an English tea bread that is so very easy to make and just as easy to eat. As long you don't go eating door stop slices of the it because that would defeat the whole point of wrestling yourself away from your daily dosage of toast.

I wasn't sure what to expect with the taste and texture, especially as I was away moving my things into my new house ready for my next year of uni (I'm out of student halls at last!) but my mum reported that it was 'absolutely gorgeous'. That gave me a very happy smile after a day of lugging heavy boxes about and moving things around in a house where the cleaner that had gone in after the previous tenants had left should be sacked. It keeps well too. I made it on the Sunday ready for Monday because Mum likes to have cake in for tea break at all times and she is always too tired to bake herself on a Monday. I've just polished off the penultimate piece and it was as moist as a fresh cake, today being Thursday. I think it might even be one that my new house mate Lauren requests me to make a gluten free version of which I think could easily work. Maybe with some cherries too. I don't know what Paddington Bear's stance on glace cherries is but as it is at the moment, Paddington would adore this. If I had come up with the idea a week earlier he could have even had it for his June birthday. Give it a go and see if you agree!

100g raisins
1 mug of strong hot tea - any is probably fine but a flavoured one is good. I used Lady Grey. A fruit one might be good too
200g plain flour
1/2tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp mixed spice
75g block Stork or a harder tub margarine - I used Clover
75g demerara sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
50g marmalade - use a good quality one, shredded or shredless as you prefer

Scoop of marmalade
2 tsp boiled water

  1. At least an hour ahead of making the cake mix the tea and raisins in a bowl and cover. You could leave it overnight if you want like for a bara brith. I left mine for about 3 hours while I was doing other stuff.
  2. Grease then line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper and set the oven to 170C/150C fan. Sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into a bowl. Cube the margarine then rub into the flour until it looks something like breadcrumbs then stir in the sugar. 
  3. Drain the raisins, reserving the liquid then mix into the crumbs along with the eggs. Mix the marmalade with about 1 tbsp of the reserved tea and mix well into the cake batter. Mix in more tea a spoonful at a time until a soft dropping consistency is achieved. 
  4. Pour the mixture into the lined tin, level it out then make a shallow trough down the centre with the back of the spoon. This minimises peaking while the cake cooks. 
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 mins. You may need to lower the temperature if the cake is browning quicker then the centre is cooking. If you need to rotate the tin so it cooks evenly wait until the first 20 mins is up. When the cake is risen, golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, place on a wire rack and make the topping.
  6. Mix the marmalade and water. The size of the marmalade scoop is up to you really. Paddington would be saddened if you used less then half a jar but this may not be practical for the majority of people. I used a teaspoon to scoop out as big a mountain as I could achieve then a got a bit extra for luck but if you wanted more to make a stickier topping then that would be lovely. Likewise, a lemon drizzle consistency would work though you wouldn't get as strong a flavour. As soon as the topping is ready, carefully lift the cake from the tin using the overhanging paper and place on the rack. Peal down the sides, prick the cake all over with a skewer and spread over the topping. Leave to cool then peal off the base of the paper and enjoy with a cup of Paddington's favourite cup of tea. English Breakfast is my guess but then maybe he wouldn't consider it important as long as there was plenty of this cake on offer.
Have fun!

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