Yeah, I suppose I could have used my loaf to come up with a catchier title for this really rather yummy cake-bread. ("Used my loaf" - get it? This is where y'all chuckle, smile, roll your eyes, make a face, groan, whatever. Any of those or all of them, in any order preferred. Just acknowledge the stomach-churning brilliance of the pun!)
But I didnt come up with a snappier title, and neither loaf helped the process in the least - one sat there looking inscrutable (YOU try anthropomorphising or analysing baked goods!) and the other sat there lacking brain cells. End result: to describe this cake to anyone, you'll need a very deep breath to recite "Lemony tea loaf with dry fruits, berries and sliced almonds?" all at one go.
Right. Now that's clear.
This is an eggfree recipe from - yes, you guessed it! - Cintia Stammers' book . I'm afraid I took the basic recipe and ran with it somewhat, because after the last eggfree baking disaster, I wasnt about to keep the recipe as simple as the book would have it.
So I added some vanilla extract and a large handful of mixed dry fruits, berries and sliced almonds - and, because I had a little bit of Sprite (I was drinking it because the evening was so VERY hot) left over in the can, and because it would have overfilled my glass, I added that as well to the batter, as an afterthought. No point wasting stuff, is there?
In retrospect, perhaps I should not have added the 3 tbsp-odd of Sprite. Not in addition to the baking powder and soda, anyway.
Bet you thought this was the prelude to yet another but entertainingly different baking experience from which I come out with egg all over my face. Right? Hah. You were wrong! WRONG! The yolk, my friends, is on you! This time, I couldnt have come out with egg on my face because - wait for it - I didnt use eggs in this recipe. Devilishly devious, that's me.
So, anybody still hanging around in the hope of reading about the loaf-cake? Your patience is going to be rewarded now.
The reason I've come to the conclusion that adding the Sprite was not the best idea is because the loaf crust came over all crisp and crumbly. Like bread. Which is good for bread, but I was going for a more cakey texture in loaf shape. My mother suggested that perhaps there was too much soda - hence I decided that the Sprite was the culprite. I mean culprit.
The cake tasted very nice and sweetly lemony, with the occasional bite of sliced almond and chewy dried fruits. The only way it failed my expectation was, as mentioned, in the crust area, which made it difficut to make neat slices.
Oh, the batter made one 750gm loaf and three bitty little loaves, which I didnt weigh.
But if you want to make this loaf-cake and you possess a 2-pound loaf pan, that's what you should use. The recipe said so.
Recipe for: Lemony tea loaf with dry fruits, berries and sliced almonds
1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbsp butter or margarine
3/4 to 1 cup caster sugar (depending on your sweet tolerance - I used 3/4)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup mixed dry fruits and sliced or chopped nuts
3/4 cup milk
Juice of 1-1/2 lemons
1-1/2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp soda bicarb
1 htsp baking powder
1. First, put the milk in a small bowl, add the lemon juice and let the milk curdle.
Preheat the oven to 180C and lightly grease a 2-pound loaf pan.
2. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar till it is fluffy and light. Add the lemon zest and mix in
then add the dry fruits and nuts.
3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, soda bicarb and baking soda.
4. Add the curdled milk and the sifted flour by turns to the butter mixture, beating well between additions. Continue till the milk and flour are used up. The batter will be quite thick.
5. Mix in the vanilla extract and transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan.
6. Bake the loaf for about 45 minutes or till a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.
7. Remove the loaf pan from the oven but let the cake remain in the pan for 10 minutes. Then gently remove it from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Tip: Drizzle or pour lemon icing thinly over the top of the loaf for an even lemonier flavour. (I wish I'd remembered to do this before I cut the cake-loaf!)