So the QWC Bake-off is over and I’m pleased to report that my shameless pandering to the internet has succeeded in securing me first place in the fund-raising. Net result: I get myself a hat of awesome and you guys get the recipe for kick-ass Sri Lankan Love Cake *and* my inevitable humiliation via the medium of dance and the internet (Assuming, of course, the chap who gets to decide the music for said dance actually makes up his mind at some point. At the moment he’s wavering between having me dance to All the Single Ladies and having me do the opening cheer sequence from Bring It On).
I should really point out that the real winner here is Pancreatic Cancer Research, on account of the fact that our bake-off raised over $1,400 in a two-week period. Near as we can tell, you guys are responsible for a good $630 of that number, give or take a few donations that didn’t come in with a vote. Which is to say, you guys UTTERLY FREAKIN’ ROCK and it’ll be my pleasure to humiliate myself for your entertainment.
But that’s in a week or so, depending on how long it takes for the logistics to get worked out. For now, I share this:
SRI LANKAN LOVE CAKE WITH HONEY-GINGER CREAM
To make this, you’re going to need the following:
Half a dozen eggs.
500 grams of Castor Sugar
150 grams of unsalted butter
enough honey to make both cake and cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence, if you’re me and you can’t be arsed trying to track down rosewater (replace this with two tablespoons of rosewater if you want to get all authentic)
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
250g raw cashews, chopped into tiny bits of cashew-rubble
300 ml of Double Cream
1 tablespoon of grated ginger
The things you’ve gotta do:
Okay, strap yourselves in, ’cause I don’t do the cake thing often and when I do engage in a spot of baking, I largely do so with the intention of making something that’s relatively mind-blowing in its awesomeness. Sure, I’ll admit, I fail at that *a lot*, but it’s the effort that matters in this instance, and occasionally the aftermath when you actually take the food and serve it to people. What I’m trying to say is this: I’m a long way from being a kitchen ninja, but I can manage this cake if I’m okay with making a mess, and it’s a cake that’s designed to impress when people don’t expect you to have mad baking skills.
Step One: find an oven someone’s willing to let you use and crank the thing to about 150 degrees. I’m working in Celsius here, ’cause that’s how Australian’s roll; if your oven is working in Fahrenheit or some other weird measurement, hit the internets and find the appropriate conversions.
Step Two: Bung the eggs and the sugar in a mixing bowl and generally BEAT THE HOLY HELL OUT OF IT. Generally I do this with electric beaters and mixers and stuff, but history suggests you can do it by hand if you’re willing to put the work into it. Keep going until the mixture is kinda pale and you don’t see things that are obviously egg yolks or bits of un-mixed sugar in the mixture.
Step Three: Add butter, 60 milometers of honey, nutmeg, cardamon, and your vanilla essence. Track down a grater and zest the hell out of your lime. Seriously, go at it until you’ve transformed the skin of the lime into something like finely grated cheese, then toss the grated lime-skin into the mixture. Yes, I’ve put more effort into this step than is really necessary. What can I say – zesting the lime is traditionally my favourite part of the process, largely cause it’s an excuse to use one of these bad-boys, and my fine-grain hand-grater is, like, my third-favourite kitchen utensil.
So yeah, zest your lime and add the zest to the mixture. Do whatever the hell you want with the rest of the lime – you’re not going to need it here. I recommend finding some post-cake coctail that needs a dash of lime-juice, but that’s just me.
Step Four: Mix the hell out of everything you’ve just thrown into the bowl.
Step Five: If you’re using the electric mixture, it’s time to abandon it and do the next few steps by hand, ’cause it’s time to throw in your chopped cashews and you generally want them to be somewhat-chunk-like rather than processed into fine dust. Do the same with the semolina once you’re done mixing in the cashews. Mix well.
Step Six: Put some greased baking paper in a largish, rectangular cake-tin. Pour your mixture into the tin. Trust me when I say you’ll regret forgetting the baking paper step if you don’t do it.
Step Seven: Throw everything into the oven and leave it to bake for about an hour. Timing will vary depending on your oven and how well it handles such things, but you’re basically aiming for a cake that’s a nice golden-brown on the top and still moist inside. If you’re a fan of the skewer test, you’re largely looking for the opposite of what you’d normally looking for – if the skewer comes out clean, you’ve overcooked things.
Fortunately, this cake is still fairly delicious if you overcook things. Plus, we’ve got the Honey-Ginger Cream to make up for any mistakes you may have made on that front. And, unlike the cake, the cream is dead fucking simple.
So, Step Eight: At some point during the hour your cake is in the oven, either clean your mixing bowl (or grab another one) and throw in your ginger, your double-cream, and two table-spoons of honey. Mix like hell, until things are, well, mixed. When you’re done, cover the bowl and put your honey-ginger cream into the fridge until you need it.
When your hour is up, take your cake out of the oven. If you’re sensible, let it cool a little before you start cutting it into squares and serving it with a dollop of cream on the top. If you’re me, cut it into squares while it’s still warm and eat a few peices, ’cause it’s way better that way.