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Saturday, 8 December 2007

Let's bake a cake

It was my birthday on Thursday last week so I gave myself a present and took the day off work. I also added Friday to make a nice long week-end and now its back to work on Monday. It is custom where I work to bring something to eat for coffee break. As we are many people – about 20 – I usually back about 3 large cakes, the reason being that it is cheaper than buying something. I used to bake a lot when the kids were at home and when I was allowed to eat the sweet stuff. As the years go by the kids grow up and move away and I am not supposed to eat the sweet stuff any more. This year I decided to make a Santa Claus Cake, a Spice Cake and a Chocolate cake. The last two are my own recipe, just basic. The first one I found in a recipe book some years ago, and my birthday being on St. Niklaus day I found it quite appropriate. Living in Switzerland I use the metric system for weights.

125 gramme Butter
200 gramme brown sugar
A pinch of salt (in the flour)
2 Eggs
200 grammes Dates
60 grammes Walnuts
60 grammes Almond splitters
2 Tablespoons Rum (I used Cognac – anything alcoholic does except for methylated spirits)
350 grammes Flour2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder (In Switzerland we cannot get self-raising flour as in other countries, so we always have to put baking powder into the flour)
2 deciliters of Milk

So here we go


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Here we have the ingredients all ready to be used. Of course, something to weight the ingredients is also necessary - you will see this in further photos.

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Any cake tin can be used, but I will be using this one. It's called a "spring form" in German and quite useful when the cake is finished as you just release the clip on the side and the cake is released from the tin. You can also serve the cake on the base. First of all grease the tin.


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I then weigh the dates
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and start chopping them in large pieces.
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Now weigh the walnuts
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I usually break the walnuts into large pieces by hand.


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So now we have the dates, walnuts and almond splitters ready


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Put the butter in the mixing bowl. I usually leave the butter at room temperature when I start making the cake as it makes it softer and easier to beat.


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I use the electric mixer for making cakes and beat the butter until it is soft.

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Then add the brown sugar

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and beat it together with the butter

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Now add the eggs one after the other and beat into the mixture with the machine


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and the mixture should look as above

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Add the dates, walnuts and almonds and a generous dose of rum or in my case cognac - what you happen to have in the bar


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Start mixing this all together. Notice I have changed the whisk on the machine to something less fine. You just have to mix the stuff together now and not beat it.


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Now everything is mixed nicely together.


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Put the flour and the baking powder onto the mixture

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and add the milk. In the recipe it says add the milk and flour alternatively, but I find that if your have an electric mixer you can just as well add everything together and mix on a slower speed.

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The cake mixture is now complete.

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It can now be put carefully into the cake tin (did another wonder work by holding the camera in my right hand and balancing the cake mixture in the left).


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I usually make a deepening through the middle as when the cake rises (and we all hope it does) it evens out better.
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Mr. Swiss found this photo would not be possible, but I again decided to prove it was. I had to do it with a flash, but it worked out ok. Here you see the cake after about 20 minutes in the oven.


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And here is the final product. I wrap it in aluminium foil and keep it in the fridge until Monday when I take it to work. It then stays fresh.

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