An Autumn Baking Day
– Redcurrant Fairy Cakes with Raspberries –
Sunday morning, colder than normal and darker than I had expected, I crept downstairs to don my wellies and make my way to the hen hut……it had been raining in the night and the grass was soggy and wet underfoot, whilst large droplets fell with weird “plopping” sound on my head, as I made my way down to the bottom of the garden where my chickens reside in a “des res” stone hen hut. I passed the old quince tree, boughs heavy with golden orbs of perfumed fruit…..I could hear my “girls” clucking and cackling to be out, and as soon as I opened the old wooden door, there was a flurry of feathers as they all flew out, with indignation etched on their faces at the late hour of release, it was AFTER eight o’clock and they are usually liberated by seven o’clock. Making my way back to the warmth of the kitchen and the singing of a kettle, I plotted and pondered on what I would do today…..my suitcase had been unpacked, and my kitchen had been “reclaimed” as my own, after my husband’s messy exploits over the last two weeks. But, first, a cup of tea in bed before I decide what I will do today……
…..back in the kitchen an hour later, after a long “lie-in” and a lazy Sunday book reading session, I decided; today would be a Baking Day, and cakes and bakes would be made, as well as a big pot of stew for lunch. I also decided to try to fit in a chutney recipe, time permitting, as there was an abundance of figs, as well as apples and pears, and I have a lovely old recipe for Apple, Fig and Pear Chutney with Cardamom…..so, vegetables were peeled and diced, and flour was sifted and weighed…..and frozen fruit was defrosted for my Redcurrant Fairy Cakes, with one teensy weensy change, I had to use raspberries as I had no redcurrants!
About a month ago, Baking Mad sent the basic ingredients to make these wee cakes, the recipe for Redcurrant Fairy Cakes can be found on the Baking Mad site here: Redcurrant Fairy Cakes made with Billington’s Unrefined Sugar. The challenge was to make some cakes using one of Billington’s unrefined sugars; not all brown sugars are the same: many are only brown on the outside; underneath they are really refined white sugar which has been coated to add colour and some flavour. Billington’s sugars are different. They are unrefined so the sugars are very simply produced with the aim of locking in, rather than refining out the natural molasses of the sugar cane. It is this difference that gives unrefined sugar its superior flavour and natural colour, and I PREFER cooking with unrefined sugars wherever possible. The recipe for the Redcurrant Fairy Cakes uses Billington’s Light Muscovado Sugar, which, is the world’s finest light brown soft sugar, with a warm honey colour and creamy fudge flavour. It has a richness and depth of flavour which is unmatched by refined light soft brown sugar. Perfect for cakes, biscuits, toffee sauce and savoury dishes.
I opted to make these cakes as I had redcurrants in the garden, as well as the freezer, and they were made and devoured almost straight away, as well as being photographed too…..but, one of my camera memory cards has had an error message recently, and when I came to upload the photos, there were none to be found, so these cakes JUST had to be made again, but with raspberries! Oh what a CHORE to make these delightful cakes and sample them AGAIN!
Billington’s sugar has shed its old-fashioned packaging too, and the sugar I received was clad in a new jacket, with all the salient details about unrefined sugar printed on the back of every package.…..I was also sent a small sample of a “competitors” sugar, and I had to blind taste it, a teaspoon of each…..I have no idea who the competitor was, but their sample sugar did not have the same “toffee” flavours, nor was it as smooth and rich as the lovely Billington’s Light Muscovado Sugar I received for my cake recipe.
But back to my baking and my cakes…..as you can see by the photos, using a light muscovado sugar gives these fairy cakes a wonderful golden hue, and the taste is rich and indulgent; the redcurrants were a fabulous pairing when I used them in the cakes a few weeks ago, but the raspberries were just as good, with the same tangy flavour to cut through the toffee like taste of the cakes. The recipe is simple and the icing is just lush, as you blend fruit with the golden icing sugar for a super pink and tangy topping……I also added a few sprinkles of red sugar for an extra flourish!
I recommend this easy recipe, as well as using an unrefined sugar for that extra depth of flavour, and raspberries are JUST as good as redcurrants too, and I bet blackberries would also be fab in these cakes……or cherries! I DID manage to make my chutney by the way, and a BIG pot of seasonal veggie stew, some bread and a lovely big fruity tray-bake, all of the recipes will be posted on my blog over the next week or so, along with some new (and old) quince recipes…….that’s it for today – I still have lots of news to share with you, as well as lovely new giveaway and more 5:2 recipes ideas too…..have a wonderfully cosy and warm Sunday evening, and see you later, Karen.
Disclaimer: I was sent some sugar and flour to make these cakes, as part of Baking Mad’s Billington’s Unrefined Sugar Challenge; all opinions are my own and I was not paid to post this article. Karen S Burns-Booth
(I used the same amount of raspberries in place of the redcurrants)
Coming soon……..Quince, Walnuts, Apples & Pears, Seasonal Suppers, Stews, Cakes and Tray Bakes…..and a LOVELY new Giveaway, as well as FBC notes, an Interflora Workshop and what I was doing at Rick Stein’s Cookery School in Cornwall!
This time last year – 7th October 2011: