24th April 2012
Well with the remainder of my mum’s birthday cake all gone (mainly eaten by my daughter I hasten to add), it was time to bake again. I had originally planned to bake the Date & Cherry Butter Bars, but realised I had figs in the cupboard and not dates, so these would have to wait until I went shopping. On the opposite page in The Bible is the Bakewell Slices, so instead of flicking through for another recipe, I knew I had all the ingredients needed for this one.
Oven on and a traybake removed from cupboard. No need to line the tin Mary says due to the fact the pastry contains a lot of fat and no sugar – that’s fine by me!
First thing was to make the pastry, I’m not a great fan of making pastry – as you probably realise I haven’t made many recipes so far from the ‘Tarts and Pastries’ section of The Bible. Into a bowl went the flour and the butter and this was rubbed in to resemble fine breadcrumbs. Mary said to add 2-3 tbsp of cold water. I added two, but the mixture still wouldn’t come together, so I added another half and it came together to form a soft dough.
For some reason I had in my head that the pastry would be pushed into the bottom of the tin with your fingers, I don’t know why, but I was wrong. It had to be rolled out on a lightly floured surface and then put into the tin. I very nearly got the exact size, except in one place it was too wide, so this was trimmed and put in the gap on the other side. No blind baking for this, so the pastry was put to one side and it was on with the filling.
Into another bowl went the softened butter, caster sugar, self raising flour, baking powder, eggs, milk and almond extract. Out with the whisk and these were all beaten together until smooth. I love the smell of almond extract so was very tempted indeed to have a quick taste!
Next the pastry base had to be covered in raspberry jam. Mary’s recipe says about 4 tbsp. Slightly more went on mine as I do like a good covering of jam in my bakewells. Next the sponge mixture was spooned on top. I was worried that as I spread the sponge mixture out it would pull the jam up off the pastry base, but it didn’t and it was soon nice and level. As a finishing touch a handful of flaked almonds were sprinkled on top. That was it, ready to go in the oven.
It was in the oven for 25 minutes and had started to shrink away from the sides and was as Mary states springy when pressed in the centre. The cake was left to cool in the tin and then cut into 15 slices and removed from the tin. I was a bit disappointed to see that my layer of jam seemed very thin now and the top of the pastry to me looked slightly undercooked, although the sponge part looked lovely and was well risen.
Taste wise, they were very nice, but I would have preferred a slightly stronger almond taste, so maybe next time I will add a little more almond extract. My daughter doesn’t like them, so they will probably last slightly longer than some of the other cakes I have baked. My son was disappointed as they didn’t have icing on top, but my husband loves them. So at least half of us are happy with them!