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Archive for July, 2019

July…

… Means the most epic cake yet this year. We are fans of The Great British Bake Off, and when we saw the episode featuring an epic creation called Tennis Cake, I knew it had to make the list for this year’s challenge.

A word of warning. If you are a standard home baker who is comfortable in the kitchen, this will still take forever. How the contestants do it on the clock, I clearly will never know.

However, the end result is actually delicious. I took leftovers to work and apparently made the mistake of telling coworkers it is a very delicious fruitcake. Did anyone except my professional kindred spirit/dear friend try it? Nope. That said, my friend did love it, and agreed the others were missing out.

Do not be afraid of the amount of dried fruits in here. You’ve got the glory of homemade almond paste, fondant, and sugary royal icing topping what is a truly yummy, moist cake. Also, the tennis net (yes, you read that correctly) is really no big deal, either. Every component is fun to make, though I might not have said so if I hadn’t had Schatzi to help roll out that fondant-it’s a beast all its own!

So before I list the dozens of ingredients required for this masterpiece, a few words of advice. This is a British classic-the recipe dates back to the 1800s, with Mary Berry’s genius of today added. That said, I had to go to Amazon for a few of the ingredients, as my average hometown did not carry them at the store. You’ll want to use your trusty kitchen scale for measurements, as most of them are in grams. I also purchased a sweet cake pan that you can adjust to make any size cake you desire (this one is weird, 6×9). You can find it at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000GW89M8/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_tBFpDbHBDVV58

Alright! Let’s get baking.

Love, all.

For the cake, you need:

  • 350 grams glace cherries, quartered (Amazon)
  • 225 grams canned pineapple, drained and chopped
  • 350 grams dried apricots, chopped
  • 100 grams blanched almonds, chopped
  • 350 grams sultanas
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 250 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 250 grams caster sugar (look for it at Fresh Market, etc.)
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 250 grams self-rising flour
  • 75 grams almond meal

Start by heating the oven to 320. Grease a 6×9 inch baking pan and line it with a double layer of parchment. Don’t be like me and wimp out on stuffing the paper into the corners-as you will see, I was lazy and ended up with a cake that was a bit rounded like a boat. Your want to really push it into the corners for a crisp finish. Also, a word on the cherries that you have likely purchased from Amazon. You’ve quartered them, now put them in a strainer and rinse, rinse, rinse that weird juice away. Let them strain completely and then dry them along with the pineapple as thoroughly as you can on a towel. Wet fruits sink in your cake. Dry cherries do not, and I’ll prove it. Now that you’ve prepped the fruit, plop it in a bowl with the lemon zest and remaining fruits, and acquaint everyone.


You’ll know you’ve dried your fruits properly when you pick them up and they sprinkle, like this:


Quality photography there. 😂 Mary Berry suggests adding some of the flour to this mixture to help keep fruit from sinking. I forgot, and as you will see, it turned out fine because the fruit was dried well.

Now let’s cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one by one with a spoonful of flour to keep the mixture from curdling (mine did anyway… but maybe you’ll have better luck!)

Fold in the rest of the flour and the almond meal. Gently fold in the dried fruits and nuts, then pour into your prepped cake pan and smooth off the top. Bake for about 2 hours, until golden and a pick comes out clean. Halfway through the bake, cover the cake with foil to prevent over-browning.

Leave the cake in the pan to cook for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely (or stone-cold, as the expert would say).

Fifteen, love.

Let’s make the delicious almond paste! You need:

  • 250 grams almond meal
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 150 grams powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp almond extract

Mix the dry ingredients, then stir in the egg and extract. Knead together in a bowl just until everything comes together and cover it in Saran wrap. It should be stiff, but don’t overdo it.

Thirty, love.

Now we make royal icing! You need:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 675 grams powdered sugar, sifted
  • Gel food coloring for yellow and pink (again, I went to Amazon)

Whisk the egg whites until nice and frothy (I did use my trusty stand mixer). Now, painstakingly mix in the sugar one tablespoon at a time until the final mixture is very stiff with peaks. Again, cover with Saran wrap.

Forty, love.

Last component! Fondant. Cursed fondant. This is why bakeries charge you more, people. Nancy Crockett, thank you endlessly for covering our beautiful wedding cake with fondant. I’m so sorry. But it was indeed beautiful. For this beast, you need:

  • Roughly 1.5 tbsp gelatin or 4 leaves gelatin
  • 4 tbsp liquid glucose
  • 1 1/2 tsp glycerine
  • 500 grams powdered sugar
  • Green gel food coloring

Use a double boiler with barely simmering water and add the gelatin with 2 tbsp water and the glucose and glycerine. Heat until everything is combined, but do not boil! Get it off the heat.

Sift half of the sugar into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the gelatin mixture into the well and mix together. Sift the remaining sugar onto the counter, and turn your new mixture onto it. Knead until smooth and pliable.

Keep a tiny piece of white fondant for the tennis ball, but slowly knead green dye into the remaining fondant until you can’t stand it or you get the color for your tennis court that you want. *Read, here’s where I needed help.* Guess what? Wrap it in Saran wrap. The key to these components is that we don’t want them to dry out before getting them on the cake.

Match! And it’s finally time to assemble! Can you believe?

Add some powdered sugar on top of some Silpat and roll the almond paste out into a rectangle slightly bigger than your cooled cake. Then, cut a 6×9 inch rectangle from it and place that on top of the cake. Stuff your face with the remaining almond paste because heck, it’s delicious protein.

Roll out the green fondant on the Silpat that has been re-dusted with sugar. Again, roll until a bit bigger than the cake, then cut down to 6×9 and place on top of the almond paste layer. Enjoy eating some extra fondant with your almond paste.

Divide the royal icing to make three colors: pink, yellow, and white. Put most of the white icing into a piping bag using a number 3 writing nozzle (the tips are numbered, just look!). Pipe a tennis court onto the fondant, and don’t be afraid to ask Google for a pattern. Try to leave about 3/4 inch around the edge.

Still with the number 3 nozzle, pipe two rackets and the outline of a tennis net that is the width of the cake onto a piece of parchment. Place the rest of the white icing in a bag with a number 2 writing nozzle, and pipe the strings into your rackets and tennis court. You can also pipe other sorta equipment as desired. Like a bike. Leave everyone to dry until easily lifted from the parchment.

Add the pink icing to a piping bag with a number 8 star nozzle, and the yellow to a bag with a number 7 star nozzle. Pipe a border around the court.

Pipe a line of white icing across the middle of the cake, and stand the net across it. Place the rackets and ball as you wish on the court.

My goodness! It’s the end of the day and you finally finished the cake! And look how much drying that fruit paid off:

I think this would actually pass the Paul and Mary judgement, if I do say so myself. I don’t even like fruitcake, but I would eat this any day! And it actually keeps well because it is nice and moist. It’s a marathon, but if you love a baking challenge, I recommend trying it.

*sc

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