A new series of Great British Bake Off is now upon us (and half way through already!!) so each Wednesday evening, I am generally baking and watching the contestants on the show create delicious cakes and bakes! The arrival of the new series has inspired me to share with you a recipe that could represent something very British baking wise and it’s also extremely easy to make.
The Bakewell Tart is a firm favourite of mine, but I wanted to create a more cakey-version of the classic tart. So, I decided to add ground almonds and also almond extract to my usual sponge mixture. The result was delicious, and tasted perfect. The classic combination has this cake bursting with almond flavour, sandwiched together with the luxurious dark morello cherry conserve topped with a blanket of silky icing, toasted almond flakes and glace cherry halves.
Bakewell Tart originates rather obviously from the picturesque town of Bakewell in the Derbyshire Peak District and traditionally, it is an English pudding or dessert consisting of a shortcrust pastry, with a layer of jam and a sponge using ground almonds although some versions of the tart are covered with a layer of fondant. The most famous recipes for the Bakewell Tart came Mrs Beeton in 1861 although there are now lots of modern examples to be found in most cake shops and in most supermarket cake departments!
Most of us have eaten Bakewell Tart but probably not so many of us have made this fabulous twist, so why not give it a go?
For The Cake
8oz butter well softened
6oz caster sugar
2oz ground almonds
8oz self-raising flour
6 teaspoons almond extract or essence
4 large eggs
For The Filling & Topping
1/3 jar of morello cherry or black cherry conserve
8 oz icing sugar
6 teaspoons water or lemon juice
3 tablespoons flaked almonds, lightly toasted (buy a small bag, then toast in a dry frying pan for a few minutes)
2 x 8 in round sandwich tins, greased with fry light spray
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4
2. Beat together all the cake ingredients until smooth. Divide the mixture equally between tins and level the tops with a spatula. (Weigh them if you need to!) Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
*Do not open the oven door until 25 minutes of baking to check the cake*
3. Place the tins onto a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before turning out to cool.
4. Once cool, put one sponge onto grease proof paper, then spread with conserve/jam. Sandwich the second sponge on top.
5. Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the water and/or lemon juice, then stir until smooth and thick. At this stage, the icing needs to be thick and stiff! Spread the icing on the top of the cooled cake.
6. Scatter the toasted and cooled flaked almonds on the icing and leave to set for a few minutes before cutting. Add the cherries and decorate as you please, depending on cake shape.
The cake can also be placed in the fridge to set if preferred.
7. Initially I made this cake in a round tin, although for the Clandestine Cake Club first Birthday party I decided to make it in the shape of a number one! (See photos below)