Thursday, 15 December 2011

Iced Apricot Fruit Loaf

Recipe Number One Hundred & Thirty One:  Page 303.


If you follow my challenge on Facebook or on Twitter you'll no doubt already know my very exciting news, so please forgive me for repeating myself. For those who have perhaps just stumbled upon my blog, this is what it’s all about. A journalist came across my blog last week and got in contact to find out more. I was delighted that my challenge was of interest to her and, a few days later, I was ecstatic when I was informed that the Daily Mail wanted to run an article about me and my blog. Could this really be true? As Neil will tell you, it took some time for me to stop shaking! At lightning speed I'd had a telephone interview and a photo shoot was arranged. For the photo shoot I needed to bake seven cakes and bakes. Although the photos wouldn't be taken in our humble little kitchen, I was pleased that all of the cakes that would appear in the photos would be made by my two hands. This did mean, however, that a very long baking day was in store!

Although most of my chosen cakes were ones I'd already made, I did want to choose two things I'd not tried before. One of my choices was this apricot fruit loaf; it sounded fairly easy to make and I thought it would look good in the photos.

First of all, I chopped up some glacé cherries before rinsing and drying them. I was using up the last few cherries from a tub which had been opened a while. The cherries were sitting in about half an inch of sticky syrup and didn't look very tempting, I was glad to give them a rinse under the tap! Next, I had to crack some eggs into a mixing bowl before adding all of the remaining ingredients on top РI'm not quite sure why the eggs have to go in first!!! Dutifully I carried out Mary's instructions and tipped the flour over the eggs and then some softened butter. I was surprised to be using light muscovado sugar instead of caster sugar. I wondered if the muscovado sugar would create a richer loaf. I now had to add the important dried apricots. I have learnt through this challenge not to spend ages chopping apricots or any other soft fruits for that matter with a knife; it is so much quicker to use scissors! I added the scissor snipped apricots to the rest of the ingredients. There swiftly followed the rinsed and dried cherries. Last of all, I tipped in a good quantity of sultanas. What a fruity loaf this was going to be! I used my trusty electric whisk to beat the mixture until combined. Now I just needed to spoon the thick fruit packed mixture into my greased and lined loaf tin and pop it into the oven to cook for just over an hour. Meanwhile, I got on with making yet more cakes. Of course, with all of this baking comes a mountain of washing up; my hands soon looked like a pair of shrivelled raisins!!

Thankfully the icing wasn't too tricky to make but I could have done without getting covered in a fine dusting of icing sugar. I warmed a small amount of apricot jam and water together then poured it onto the icing sugar and gave it a good old mix. It was a little runny but Mary says it should be of a spreadable consistency, which it certainly was! I covered the cake with the runny icing. Of course some escaped down the sides, but I think it added somewhat to its charm! I used my scissors to cut up yet more apricots and decorated the loaf as instructed by sprinkling the apricots down the centre. I was really pleased with the overall appearance of the cake; it looked very appetising. Having the apricot jam mixed in with the icing gave a slight tinge of orange and, combined with the apricot decoration, the loaf looked rather pretty and delicate!

The loaf was easy to slice and easy to eat too. It was sweet and moist and I could really taste the tang of the apricots. This loaf is packed to the brim with flavour but no fruit overpowers the other. I think using light muscovado sugar instead of caster did indeed give it a richer flavour. I don't think caster sugar would have given the same depth of flavour. I'll certainly be making this cake again; it's a real winner!
One of my favourite loaf cakes :-)

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