Thursday, 15 September 2011

Cartacake, or Mappe-Monde on a Gateaux Projection

Since starting work at Jonathan Potter Ltd (shameless plug) I've made many rookie errors and seldom had a chance to show my appreciation and gratitude to the rest of the staff.  So when it started being my-birthday-time-of-year, I resolved to bring a cake in like we used to at school, and to theme it appropriately.

With one of us being on holiday, it needed to keep until he got back, so a fruitcake with plenty of integral booze seemed best.  This also gave me an excellent opportunity to use up some of the old dried fruits in the larder which had been giving me funny looks for years and threatening to go crunchy.

Map Cake
You Will Need: Large bowl, wooden spoon, scales, small bowl, fork, medium bowl, knife, sharp knife and chopping board, 24cm Springform tin, greaseproof paper, rolling pin, small plate, paintbrush, cup of water, plate for display.

3 medium eggs weighing 6ozs. total
6ozs. butter (Kerry Gold for preference, it squidges so well)
6ozs golden caster sugar
large handful of apricots, finely chopped
tablespoonful of mixed peel
a dozen glacé cherries, finely chopped
tablespoonful of currants, with any stalks removed
tablespoonful of sultanas
Armangac, Madeira, sherry or other cooking alcohol
6 ozs self-raising flour
2 ozs dessicated coconut
icing sugar
lump of marzipan
silver balls, food colourings
apricot jam

1) Preheat the oven to 180degrees C.  Grease and line the tin with a circle of greaseproof paper.  Set aside.  Chop all the fruit that needs chopping.  Put all the fruity ingredients in the medium bowl, and glug over a generous measure of the booze by putting your thumb in the neck of the bottle and drizzling as though you are a real chef.  This is quite fun, but only do a coating, not so you can see a puddle at the bottom.  Leave to soak.
2) Cream the butter and sugar.  Beat the eggs together in the small bowl with the fork, and mix well into the sugar/butter a third at a time.
3) Stir in the fruit and booze.
4) Weigh out the flour and coconut together and mix them.  Add to the cake mix a quarter at a time.  Fold in carefully to get lots of air bubbles into the cake.
5) Pour the mixture into the tin and spread carefully so that there is a slight depression in the centre of the cake.  As it rises this will fill out, creating a flatter surface to rest the cake on.
6) Bake until golden brown and cleanly skewered, about 35-40 mins.  Meanwhile, roll out a piece of marzipan into a circle big enough to cover the whole cake.  Use icing sugar to 'flour' the surface and your rolling pin.  On the little plate, blob food colouring like paint onto a palette and paint your design onto the marzipan with the brush.  Rinse in the cup of water.  You can't get much detail on marzipan; if I was doing this again I would make Royal Icing with eggwhite and use a smaller brush, but not everyone likes crunchy icing.  This was a cake for all.
7) Take the side-tin off the cake and flip it onto the plate for display, by putting plate on top of cake, grasping the tin-bottom firmly and turning over.  The tin-bottom and paper can now be removed.  When cool, spread the cake with a little apricot jam and lay the marzimap over the surface.  Trim any unsightly dangly bits with a knife.
8) Add capital cities or other places of interest with silver balls. 

Safe to say the cartographic content (and indeed the cakey content) was appreciated by all, which is gratifying.  And one of my rookie mistakes today (not getting a potential customer's name and number) came good too!  So, all is well in London Town for the beginning of another year...

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