For as long as I can remember, I’ve known a basic cake recipe off by heart. This is due to my Grandma and Mum both telling me from a young age that everything needs to be “the weight of two eggs”. That’s how we bake cakes in my family. We use eggs for weights and we have archaic weighing scales. You want a bigger cake? Use more eggs. Pretty straightforward.
So today I found myself home alone, bored and with a sweet-tooth (a rarity for me), so I decided to banish my boredom with baking! I had all the basics (well, I didn’t have caster sugar but I just substituted it, as you’ll see) and cupboards full of potential fillings/toppings. I decided to stick to “healthy” cakes, (ignore the sugar and butter content), and opted for walnuts and dried apricots as my filling/topping. But that wasn’t interesting enough for me… I went to the liquor cabinet to see what I could dust off. “Hmmmm… Málaga Dulce! That’ll do!”
This is how they turned out…
What You Need
Self -Raising Flour
Sugar (I used brown sugar as that’s all we had in)
Walnuts – shelled and roughly chopped
Dried Apricots – one whole one for each cake and some chopped ones
How You Do It
Apricots need seeing to first. Put the whole and chopped apricots together in a bowl with a covering of Málaga Dulce or Muscatel and stick them in the fridge to absorb all the sweet alcoholic goodness. Ideally do this the day before baking, but a few hours previous also works.
When you’re ready to bake pre-heat your oven to around 180ºc.
Next – weigh your ingredients. As I said above, we don’t use measurements to bake cakes in my family – we use eggs for weights. If you don’t have old school scales like ours:- …then weigh your eggs first, note their weight and weigh out your sugar, butter and flour to the same weight. If you do have scales like ours, then put the eggs where you usually put your weights and weigh away! Butter, Sugar and Flour!
Time to get mixing! Put the sugar and butter in a bowl and mix together until smooth, then add in the eggs and keep mixing. You can use a hand mixer, food processor or a wooden spoon to mix. Lastly, add the flour and mix until all four ingredients are blended together.
Take the chopped apricots out of the Málaga Dulce/Muscatel and throw them in the cake mixture along with the chopped walnuts. Mix it all together and set it to one side.
Use some butter to lightly grease your muffin tin and then carefully place one whole apricot with a small amount of Málaga Dulce/Muscatel in the bottom of each mould. Keep the remaining liquid to one side.
Gently spoon some cake mixture on top of each apricot being careful not to overfill your tins.
Put them in the centre of your pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes.
Whilst they’re baking prepare the topping. Put the leftover Málaga Dulce/Muscatel into a pan with some brown sugar, a knob of butter and the juice of a lemon and bring to the boil. Let it boil until all the sugar has dissolved then pour it into a baking tray and place in the fridge to cool. You want it to go thick but not set.
Remove the baking tray from the fridge and put a spoonful of the chilled mixture on top of each of your cooled cakes. Finish off with a piece of walnut and apricot to make them pretty! Yummy!