Since a few of my previous posts have not gone exactly to plan, I decided to go for something a lot more simple this week. I think my parents were thankful for something a bit more familiar; although they have enjoyed some of my bakes, they are sticklers for a more traditional Victoria sponge and haven’t exactly relished in the amount of cardamom etc. flying around. So I’m hoping orange and blueberry is a safer bet. I am also sticking with the more traditional route in other ways as madeira cakes are often flavoured with citrus fruits. In my attempt to follow the bake off last year, I made a cinammon, sultana and cointreau madeira cake while I was on my cookery course at the Grange. I feel like the positive baking vibes were definitely rubbing off on me on that occasion. It ticked all the boxes Paul and Mary were looking for with some nice candied peel for decoration on top of a lovely crack across the top (you can never get tired of a good bake off innuendo). It is quite possibly the first time I would not have been eliminated for a bake! A picture can be found in the depths of my instagram account, cakeholebakes, if anyone can be bothered to pander to my smugness.
Anyway, on to my orange and blueberry cake. I followed a really basic madeira cake recipe, shock horror from the BBC, and merely added a punnet of blueberries and some orange zest. This worked really nicely as using a thicker cake mixture helps suspend the fruit and prevent it from sinking to the bottom. Again, it had a really nice crack in the top and, on my second attempt, was a success. Unfortunately, my brain wasn’t quite functioning at this point, which meant I was outsmarted by a sieve and a set of scales when measuring the flour. So, in this case, second time’s the charm!
Madeira cakes are traditionally left without icing. However, I have been meaning to practice my icing skills, so decided to use it more as a layer cake. Therefore I will add now that this cake definitely doesn’t need any icing; my parents said they would have actually preferred it without, but my stubbornness ultimately won out. I therefore decided to fill my cake with icing and a layer of jam. I used some of the leftover jam from my Lemon and Aronia Berry Iced Biscuits, but a blueberry jam would also be lovely. I used the same recipe for the buttercream on this cake as I did on Charlie’s Leaving Cake, but unfortunately I didn’t do Martha Stewart quite as must justice in this instance. All I will say is make sure the butter is at room temperature. The icing was still nice and usable, but nowhere near as tasty. If the cake was for a purpose other than practice I probably would have redone it but in this case it served the purpose it needed to and it seemed a shame to waste the ingredients. I based my decoration on a cake I saw on Greggy Soriano’s youtube channel for a geode cake. I absolutely loved the creativity of the approach so tried to give it a go myself.
I think it turned out fairly well. When put in direct comparison with Greggy’s design, you can definitely see the resemblance and, once you get used to using palette knives, it’s pretty easy. I am not going to explain exactly how I did it as it’s pretty much all laid out in his youtube video if you’re curious, but I think it’s probably fairly self explanatory so, for once, I’ll actually shut my cakehole! I have to admit though, it is fairly random! It ended up being a fairly spontaneous process in itself when I was actually doing it, but I think it’s safe to say that not many people would ask for a cake decorated in such a way. However, I am still pretty happy with it. The choice to pipe little dots on top really lifted the design, even if it is fairly abstract to say the least. If you do have any questions please do not hesitate to ask, but either way I hope you enjoy!