A special cake for a special day-what could be a nicer gift than a home baked one made with love? This is a rather special mother’s day cake which, ditching the bunting, you could use for all sorts of celebrations-the crystallized rose petals giving it a very pretty, vintage look.
I have a long history of making cakes for Mothering Sunday..with various degrees of success..for some reason my sisters and I thought it would be a good idea (and perfectly feasible) to get up very early in the morning bake a cake AND ice it….yes, you can imagine what happened but I’m sure my mum looked at the wonky cake with the icing sliding down the sides and thought it was the best present ever!
Nowadays we have ready made fondant icing which is very easy to use and gives a perfectly smooth professional looking finish -it’s as easy as child’s play to put it on just have a look at some You tube videos to show you how. I confess I am not a fan of eating it and I think that the synthetic, vanilla flavour is over sweet and spoils my lovely cake! It is a waste as I cut mine off before I eat it.. I could be harsh and say it often is used to cover up a poor quality cake and, from a business point of view, gives it a very long shelf life.
Home made marzipan is a revelation to convert even the most ardent ‘I hate marzipan’ brigade and I confess to being quite evangelical about singing it’s praises. It is easy peasy to make just stir the sugars together and bind with egg and it doesn’t have the sharp, chemical after taste of bought marzipan. Almonds are expensive so it makes commercial sense not to use too much and then to get the ‘almond’ flavour by adding a cheap, artificial flavour.
I made the bunting for a special Mother’s day message, it was a fiddle although you can buy the little paper flags from a craft shop. These I glued onto the ribbon (using a high tac glue that dries quickly and clear) and tied the ribbon onto some paper straws. Move them around to get the right ‘hanging effect’ before you sink them into the cake. also used crystallized fresh rose petals which look so..oooooooooooooooo pretty. You can also crystallise primroses, violets or forget me nots, the loveliness is endless. I did try it with snowdrops one year, they looked ok but are really too fleshy to do properly and you really need a flower with an ‘open’ face. Give it a go and you will be amazed at how easy it is.
Here is my mother’s day cake-appropriately for Mothering Sunday I have used my mother’s own recipe for it. I used a Madiera cake as it is quite firm so a good base if you want to cover it with marzipan and icing. The cake has a dense texture and lemony flavour and traditionally it was served topped with very thin slices of crystallized lemon peel.
MOTHER’S DAY CAKE
Makes 1 x 20cm round cake plus you need one quantity of marzipan and 1kg of bought fondant icing
150g unsalted butter, soft
150g unrefined caster sugar
Finely grated rind of one lge lemon (or 2 if med)
175g plain white flour
2 teasp corn flour
1 ½ teasp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
3 lge eggs at room temp, beaten
- Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin. Preheat oven to a moderate 180C, Gas 4.
- In a warmed mixing bowl cream the butter and the caster sugar until pale and creamy. This is easily done with an electric mixer. It should be very light.
- Add the lemon rind and whisk again.
- Sift the flour, corn flour, baking powder and pinch of salt together. Gradually add all the beaten egg and whisk as you go along. Add a little of the flour mixture if it looks like it is going to ‘split’ i.e. separate out.
- Now carefully fold in the rest of the flour mix using a spatula in a figure of 8 movements. This careful mixing avoids knocking out too many of the bubbles (that you have whisked in) which will give you a lighter texture cake.
- Pour into the cake tin, level the top. Bake for about 1 hr or until the cake is well risen and firm to touch. If you think it is starting to burn and is still uncooked in the middle you could cover the top-I keep some brown corrugated card for this purpose but you could use foil.
- After you take it out of the oven leave to cool for 10 minutes and then take it out of the tin. Peel off the lining paper with care and leave it to cool completely on a wire rack.
- The cake will keep well in a tin for about a week or you can freeze the cake if you want to.
- When cold you can cover the cake with marzipan. Brush the top and sides of the cake with apricot jam which has been sieved to get rid of any large pieces of apricot.
- Cover the sides first, rolling out 2 strips of marzipan and cutting it to size. When you are joining one piece to another (it is too long to go right around the cake in one piece) overlap them and then smooth over the join. It is helpful to use a metal ruler and then you can cut against this with an ordinary knife. Smooth it around the outside of the cake.
- Use the cake tin as a guide and cut out a disc of marzipan for the top. This will be a bit smaller than the radius of the tin. Lay it on top of the cake, covering over the marzipanned sides by about 2 cm and then use your hands to smooth it over the edges until it is nice and flat.
- Leave it to dry, overnight, if possible before you cover with the fondant icing.
225g ground almonds
125g unrefined, golden caster sugar
125g icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 medium egg
- Place the ground almonds, caster and icing sugars in a large bowl and stir together well. Make a well in the centre and add the lemon juice and enough egg to make firm dough-add the egg a little at a time. You don’t want the dough to be too sticky.
- Turn out onto a surface dusted with icing sugar and knead until smooth and free from cracks. Wrap in cling film until required. It is best to leave it to rest for about 40 minutes before you start to roll it out.
CRYSTALISED ROSE PETALS.
Crystalised rose petals make a very pretty cake or desert decoration. Petals like this are ideal but you can crystallise some complete flowers such as primroses or viola.
1 egg white
White caster sugar.
You will need 2 large plates and something to put the petals on whilst they are drying and a small brush.
- Select perfect flowers or petals. Make sure there are no brown spots or damage.
- Beat the egg white to break it up and then let the bubbles settle.
- Spread the caster sugar out on another plate.
- Use the brush to ‘paint’ each petal, front and back, and in the middle if it is e.g. a primrose. Shake off the excess and then sprinkle it with the caster sugar. It is easy to do this by holding it over the plate with the sugar on and using a teaspoon to sprinkle the sugar onto the petals. Make sure that you have covered the petal completely.
- Lay them down carefully on some baking paper or a plastic tray and let them dry for 3 or 4 hours. Keep them in a dry place or they will start to ‘weep’ and not set properly.
These will keep for a few days in a dry place.