67. Peruvian Corn Cake

The imperfect yet delicious Peruvian Corn Cake

The imperfect yet delicious Peruvian Corn Cake

So not all cakes are perfect. Despite the rather rustic appearance this Peruvian Corn cake it is extremely delicious. It’s traditionally eaten in coffee shops with enormous amounts of whipped cream and adorned with cherries. As I was transporting this to Cake Club at The Cookhouse I had to make do with squirty cream in a can…

Squirty cream in a can masks all manner of sins

Squirty cream in a can masks all manner of sins

You’d think by now, 67 bakes in to my around the world in 80 bakes challenge I’d be getting pretty good at this baking malarkey. Alas I still have the odd disaster and ruin a cake or two.

Is it because I can’t resist tampering with the recipe?  Is it because I’m slap dash in the kitchen?  Or is it because the sultanas all sank to the bottom welding the cake to the tin meaning I had to hack at it with a sharp knife to prise the last half from it’s bundty prison?

Perhaps I was a bit too roough with the Peruvian Corn Cake?

Perhaps I was a bit too roough with the Peruvian Corn Cake?

I guess it’s a combination of all 3 to be honest. Nevertheless I took it to cake club to share with my friends and enjoyed an enormous slice of it smothered in whipped cream. Which hides a multitude of sins and disguises the broken bits.

Shhh no one will notice it's a cake of two halves

Shhh no one will notice it’s a cake of two halves

The Peruvian Corn Cake is infused with Star Anise and stuffed full with coconut and plump sultanas.  It’s a perfect crumbly cake to accompany a strong cup of coffee.

The stars of the show - Star Anise seeds and Pink Himalyan Salt ready for grinding

The stars of the show – Star Anise seeds and Pink Himalyan Salt ready for grinding

Cornmeal gives the cake a wonderful golden yellow hue and an interesting texture.  Light yet crumbly to the touch with bursts of sweet moisture from the sultanas.

I’m a big lover of fruit cake and bundt cake and coconut and spice so this is an absolute winner for me. I bet if you soaked the sultanas in a little rum beforehand it would be sublime.

If you’re not a dried fruit fan feel free to leave the sultanas out (and you might have more joy getting the cake out of its tin!)

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy

Being lazy I whacked everything into my kitchenaid knowing full well that if you want to distribute your dried fruit evenly you should roll it in a little flour first and fold it into the batter. Alas I was hasty and missed this step so I had sunken sultanas.  Although the cake batter is very fluid so I doubt it would suspend sultanas throughout the cake. Gravity is inevitable.

The beaten batter

The beaten batter

I adapted this recipe from a wonderful book which could have literally been made for me. Cakes from Around the World.

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Things that I used to make my Peruvian Corn Cake

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 30g butter or margarine (butter would be better if you have it)

Step 1: Beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy

  •  3 eggs

Step 2: Then beat in the eggs one at a time adding a little of the flour if it starts to spilt.

  • 240g Fine milled corn meal (not to be mistaken for corn flour which is white not yellow). If you only have coarse corn meal blitz it in the blender to make it fine milled.
  • 20g (2tablespoons) Baking powder
  • 40g plain flour
  • Ground star anise (I used 6 seeds from whole star anise or you could use 1/2tsp of ground star anise powder)
  • 40g desiccated coconut

Step 3: Measure all of the flours and spices together. Beat in a third of the dry ingredients followed by a third of the oil.  Repeat until all of the flours and oil is incorporated into the batter. Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl down too!

  • 80ml olive oil (it’s supposed to be corn oil which I didn’t have but sunflower oil would also be a good substitute)

Step 4: Roll the sultanas in a little flour and fold them gently into the batter. (or of you can’t be bothered to dirty another spoon beat them in gently with your mixer there’s so much baking prefer in this cake it’s bound to rise so you probably don’t need to treat it too delicately worrying about keeping the air in the batter. )

  • 220g sultanas (golden if possible but they’re more expensive so I just used normal ones)

Step 5: Pour your cake batter into a thoroughly greased bundt tin.  You could add a little flour too for good measure.

Step 6: Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 45 minutes at 190 degrees Celsius (fan).

Step 7: Allow to cool before attempting to coax it from the tin. Slice and smear with whipped cream. Eat enormous wedges with strong coffee!

 

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32. Moomins Love Berry and Cardamom Cake – Finland

I spotted the amazing Moomin Cookbook on my friend Jess’s shelf. Curious to discover what moomins eat I discovered this gorgeous recipe for lingdonberry and cardamom cake. It’s a traditional Finnish recipe, yet another country I am still yet to visit.
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Unfortunately the only place I have seen lingdonberries is Ikea and that was in jam form so I substituted to the extreme using a combination of blueberries and dried cranberries.

The most time consuming part was grinding the cardamom pods ( I lost count of how many I smashed to produce 2tsp of ground cardamom) and the cloves. I have a feeling I was a bit over enthusiastic with the addition of cloves but it added a wonderfully Christmassy aroma to the kitchen (and the final cake).

grinding cardamon and cloves

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After my pestle and mortar workout all that was left to do was mush up the berries, then beat all of the ingredients together in one bowl. Wonderfully quick and little mess too!

If I was in less of a hurry I would have used my stick blender to blitz the berries but as I was in a rush I just used the back of fork… Not the best way to mush up dried fruit. Perhaps I should have soaked the cranberries in juice beforehand.

The recipe called for a greased and dusted (with semolina) loose bottomed tart tin. I paid little attention to these directions and subsequently forgot to add a dusting of semolina to my tin. I also forgot to use the specified tin and ended up with making use of my favourite bundt tin (again!)

To compensate for the tin difference I baked the sponge for a slightly shorter period of time and when the skewer came out clean from the cake, I knew it was baked through.

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This was so much quicker and non of the hassle of lining tins with greaseproof paper. I recently indulged in a can of baking spray to grease my cake tins with (or ‘quick release spray’) as it was half price and it makes such a difference. Very quick and easy to use. Perfect for when I’m in a hurry, which is most days. No buttery fingers produced either!

I was worried that the lack of semolina in my tin would mean the cake stuck but it simply slid out as soon as I turned tin over onto my cooling rack. Effortless baking. Just how I like it, which meant I could cook tea whilst whipping this cake up simultaneously. (I just can’t stop multitasking!)

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It’s  recommended that you leave the cake for a day to develop the favours. I successfully managed to resist cutting into it all night. However I was a little worried that the cloves might be a bit overpowering in this recipe, having never baked with cardamon before I wasn’t sure what to expect….

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I loved the combination of the spices, the cloves definitely come through first with a tingly punch, while the cardamon and ginger add gentle undertones of warmth. It went well with the terrible weather we’ve been having in England recently, rain, rain and more rain along with snow in some places! But equally now the sun is shining I could merrily munch on a slice of berry and cardamon cake with a cup of tea. Spicy and fruity and moist. What could be better? No wonder the Moomins love Lingdonberry and cardamom cake!

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Things I used to make Berry and Cardamon cake.

* 2tsp baking powder
* 250g brown sugar
* 250g plain flour
* 2tsp ground ginger
* 2tsp ground cloves
* 2tsp ground cardamom seeds
* 2tsp ground cinnamon
* 50g of blueberries (pureed/mushed) – if you can find lingdonberries just use 50 g of these as a puree)
* 10g dried cranberries (pureed/mushed)
* 200ml single cream
* 2eggs
* 90g melted butter

* One bundt tin
* One oven heated to  175 degrees c
* Bake for 1 hour or until cake is cooked all the way through
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* This recipe was lovingly adapted from The Moomins Cookbook