For something different this week, I made a cake, with the inspiration coming from Yvette van Boven’s book, Home Made Winter. Her cover photo was reason enough for me to buy the book, and it is filled with lovely photos and recipes. It does not, however have a recipe for Allspice Cake as hers uses cardamom. And that was the first lesson I learned from this exercise – do not assume you have certain spices or herbs in the cupboard without actually looking! And so, without cardamom, and pears already poaching, I opted to substitute allspice instead. Her original recipe can also be found at this website.
I should note that I also did not add the white chocolate drizzle and although I did reduce the poaching liquid to make the syrup, the cake was moist enough without it.
The second lesson I learned is that it’s important to make sure your oven is properly preheated – I had previously assumed that when the red light went out, that meant it was at the selected temperature. Well, not by a long shot. After the specified baking time, and after cooling, I took the cake out of the pan, only to have the raw batter ooze out the bottom, so I stuck it back in and then back in the oven for another thirty minutes, hoping for the best. Fortunately, that seemed to work, although there were a few extra gaps around the pears! Tasty, not too sweet and quite nice with coffee the next morning as well.
Note that the oven thermometer is now actually in the oven, rather than being used as handy tool to convert oven temperatures from ºF to ºC.
For this week, I went with a single dessert wine, a Vouvray (Moelleux La Levrière 2010 Bourillon d’Orleans, £9.99 for 37.5 cl bottle at Majestic) from the Loire Valley, France. As with the cake, it wasn’t overly sweet, with some tropical fruits and floral aromas. The wine is made with Chenin Blanc grapes, barrel and lees aging for six months. No photo of the wine itself, as we managed to finish the bottle before I had the chance to take a shot.