February 21, 2013
Great Aunt Daisy's Grape Cake
My Great Aunt Daisy died recently
She lived a lovely full life, and was quite a notable cook in the family with many of her recipes reaching near legendary status.
As part of her Life Celebration, family members were given a page of her favourite recipes including her handwritten notes on the side. What a lovely memorial, the idea that her legacy of culinary love can be shared and preserved for future generations. I was so excited to read through these, and also very honored to be able to share them with my own family, and also with you Dear Readers.
Usually I can get a feel for a recipe and a have a good idea of how it's going to turn out by reading it through, but I just couldn't nut out one of these cakes- and that really intrigued me.
It was simply called Grape Cake, and with a list of just 6 ingredients including fresh grapes and an egg, it called for 5 of them to be boiled up together before baking.
I just had to make it!
There was also only minimal instructions for this cake, as most people of our grandmothers era had at least a basic grasp of cookery skills in the days before most mass-produced markets, so I've tried to expand it a bit to make it simpler to follow. Let's hope Aunt Daisy would have approved.
Great Aunt Daisy's Grape Cake
Converted to metric:
225g Butter or lactose free substitute
2 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
1 cup Sugar
450g seedless Grapes
2 cups Self Raising gluten free Flour
pinch of Salt
Bring the first 5 ingredients slowly to the boil
I muddled the egg before adding it, then kept stirring as it melted and boiled so as not to scramble it- yuck!
As it gets hotter, keep stirring or it will stick and start to caramelise on the bottom of the pan. Stir, stir, stir!
Pull the pan off the heat then add in the flour and salt.
Mix it through thoroughly making sure the grapes are well distributed
The mix will initially sort of foam up a bit before going kind of grainy looking, then as you continue mixing it will form a relatively stiff dough
Instead of making one larger cake in a 20cm or 8 inch pan, I chose to make individual ones in a 1 cup capacity pan. This batter was enough to make about 10 little lovelies this way.
I tried to make sure that the batter/dough was pressed down as I didn't want any gaps between the grapes from trapped air or in case they shrunk a bit as they cooked
I cooked these at 180*C for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out cleanly- just don't spear a grape! For a bigger pan the original recipe said to give them 35 to 45 minutes as I guess the mix would be spread quite a bit thinner than these smaller, taller ones.
I tried taking them out of the pan after about 10 minutes, but they were a bit delicate, slightly soft and a bit crumbly. Instead I left them to cool completely in the pan, and they firmed up just fine
I wasn't sure which side would make for the best presentation- top or bottom, so I tried both. The tops were a bit uneven as the dough isn't fluid enough to self level as it cooks, and the mix sunk a little around the grapes. The bottom had a lovely smooth finish to it and a more uniform look. It's up to you to choose :)
I really hadn't known quite what to expect with this particular recipe, but I was very happy with how it turned out indeed.
It was a lovely moist cake with a surprisingly nice flavour given the subtlety of the grapes, the golden syrup made it taste quite caramelised actually. The outside of the cake had a delicate crumbly feel, while the inside stayed nice and moist with little bursts of yum from the grapes. I wonder how it work with red ones instead?
If grapes aren't your thing, you could certainly use small chunks of apple or another firmer style fruit. I think softer ones would collapse quite a bit and maybe go a bit mushy.
It actually reminded me of my Strawberry Rhubarb Torte recipe, even though it wasn't boiled and the other one contained almond meal- go figure!
So Dear Reader, do you have anyone in your family who has a legendary recipe or two?