I know! This is one cheeky bad boy! If your eyes have recovered enough to read on, I shall explain why a flash of red has just emblazoned your screen. On Saturday, the Bolton Clandestine Cake Club will turn one. A whole year of baking experimental cakes, meeting new friends and drinking lots of tea. I was never going to make something ordinary for such an occasion now... was I?
Now I'm not into decorating, and I am not blessed with the patience of a saint, but I do love a good bundt. I tried to remember what I loved about birthday parties as a child. One of the things that went ping was Cherryade. Oh how I loved the red stuff! If it was red, I was all over it. In later years came the slightly more sophisticated Tizer, but granted I was still only 9. Oh how we shrieked with glee when a dinner lady went to mop up a pool of Cherryade after some cack handed frigger's wayward elbow sent a bottle flying! It had stained the table like a big love heart. It was like marking our territory in the dinner room... and probably did a similar thing to our digestive systems.
Fizzy red pop packed with colour and E numbers fuelled many a school trip, roller disco and trek back from the corner shop. The sad truth is that I poured myself a glass whilst making this cake and was horrified to learn that it tastes nothing like I remember. It's like drinking some sort of syrup, and I'm not sugar shy. Fearing for the life of my cake, I tested a slice when it was done. To my delight, the baking process has removed that harsh taste and a delicate cherry scent and taste is left in its place. It was ALIVE! No flux capacitor required - I was back in 1991 wearing ski pants, slouch socks, a shell suit top and furry Ascot trainers.
Whether you share my fond memories of Cherryade or not, don't be afraid of trying the recipe. My tribe of tame cake guinea pigs gave it a resounding thumbs up! I thought a bright red cake recipe would be useful for anyone planning a spot of Red Nose Day baking too.
For the cake:
- 225g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 110g vegetable fat
- 650g golden caster sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 460g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 250ml Cherryade
- Red food dye
For the topping (optional):
For the cake:
- Icing sugar
- Cherry sweets
For the cake:
- Grease and flour a regular sized bundt tin (2.4l, 10 cup, 10 inch). I used my trusty Anniversary tin because I wanted a smooth finish.
- Soften the butter and vegetable fat together, then cream in the sugar in stages. Beat it on a medium speed for about 5 minutes. We want this cake to be very light.
- Add the eggs one at a time on a slow setting so it doesn't curdle - if it does, add a table spoon of the flour. It's going to look huge!
- Mix in the vanilla paste.
- Add all the remaining dry ingredients to a large bowl.
- Measure the Cherryade into a jug.
- Sift in 1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by 1/2 of the liquid. Repeat until all the flour and liquid is used up. Fold it in gently... It will start to split and become frothy. And a bit mucky looking. Don't panic...
- Add a good dollop of red food dye. I find the gels much more reliable than the liquid stuff.
- Give the whole thing a quick mix for about 10 seconds or until well combined. It no longer looks like a dog's dinner.
- TIP: You don't want the batter to look blood red. We are suggesting red rather than making a red velvet cake. This just assists the brain on its quest to taste the cherry, whilst keeping flavours quite subtle.
- Spoon the mix into the prepared tin.
- Bake at gas 3/160 C for about an hour and 30 minutes.
- It should be shrinking from the sides and a skewer should come out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack.
For the topping:
- Add about 250g of icing sugar to a large jug. Don't bother sifting, it's a waste of time and all you really achieve is lungs full of sugar.
- Add enough Cherryade to make a thick yet runny icing.
- Add enough food dye to make a cherry red colour.
- Pour over the entire cake and leave it to run down naturally.
- Whilst the icing is drying, pop on some cherry sweets!