Recipe Number One Hundred & Five: Page 239.
Well, these were the winner on this week’s Facebook Poll and I have to say I was rather pleased. Although I haven't made them for a few years, I used to make them fairly regularly. They were a real favourite and I'd make them whenever the family were visiting for birthday teas, etc. When I came to read through the recipe in my Baking Bible, I noticed a few subtle differences to the recipe I always used to rely on from ‘Mary Berry Cooks Cakes' book. For instance, butter is used instead of margarine and some of the quantities are smaller.
Once my little boy was in bed for his midday nap, I happily wandered into the kitchen to make the bakewell slices; I was so looking forward to revisiting my old friend! This cake isn't a five minute job like some of Mary's cakes as, not only do you need to make the sponge, but pastry is used as a bottom layer. I rubbed some chilled butter into a bowlful of flour. It took me ages to rub it in as my hands were freezing cold. By the time I had finished I noticed that my finger nails were a pretty shade of blue! I just needed to add in a little water to combine and form a soft dough. Now for the part I don't like, rolling the pastry out. I'd had it in my mind that I used just to press it into the tin. Well, I had remembered wrong! I've learnt through this challenge to roll my pastry out onto greaseproof paper rather than directly on the worktop. This means that I use less flour, but the best part is that I don't end up with pastry glued onto the work surface; it takes ages to scrub it all off. Eventually I had rolled out the pastry to fit inside my traybake tin. Now that job was out of the way, I moved on to making the sponge. This follows Mary's all in one method. I love the throw it all in a bowl and mix idea! I simply had to weigh out the butter, sugar and flour. I nearly flooded the kitchen with milk when measuring it on to my tablespoon. It was rather tricky to tip a full six pint bottle of milk without my hand shaking like crazy; a spillage was inevitable! Next I cracked two eggs into the bowl, swiftly followed by a tiny dribble of almond extract. As only a tiny amount of almond extract is ever used in recipes, I wondered how strong it actually is neat. I couldn't resist a little taste test, yeuck! At least I now know never to try it again! After beating the ingredients together until nice and smooth, I could move on to the fun part of smearing raspberry jam over the top of the pastry. Mary says to be generous with the jam as it makes all the difference. I adhered to this advice and dolloped on a good amount. I had to be careful when I added the cake mixture over the top as the jam could easily get mixed into the cake mix. I wasn't very taken with the idea of a marble effect! Last of all I sprinkled some flaked almonds over the surface of the cake, which looked rather pretty. Now it was ready for the oven. I impatiently waited for it to cook; I was dying for a slice. It took an extra eight minutes in the oven, which didn't help matters. Mary cruelly advises us to leave it to cool completely in the tin before cutting and removing from the tin, sob!
Isaac kindly took my mind off the long wait by passing me book after book and demanding that I read one particular book at least 15 times!! Finally I was saved from my reading marathon and it was time for me to cut and remove the bakewell slices from the tin; my slices were massive! Thankfully, all the slices came out easily and I was soon tucking in. This still has to be one of my favourite Mary Berry bakes. Yes, it takes a little longer due to the two layers, but I promise it is worth it. The sponge layer is light and has a subtle almond flavour; any more would be too much. The pastry is unsweetened and rather dry, but the jam offers sweetness and moistens the slice. Even though I had added a little more jam than Mary suggests, I feel I could have added even a little more. This is still my faithful friend; it has always been popular and friends and family seem to enjoy the different flavours and textures. I think I need to employ a wrist slapper. Their job would simply be to slap me on the wrist every time I reach for another slice. I just can't resist this cake!
|A family favourite!|