11 October 2011

Jack's Mum's Library Book Marmalade Cake

Yep, that's the recipe for today, folks!  (Said she, sounding like the Jimmy Young radio show - which takes me back.  You young folks won't recognise the reference there, so skip straight over it and don't worry a bit).

First, though, let's talk you through the end of last week.

I left you at the Keema Mutter in all its gorgeousness.

We did indeed have the shop-bought pie complete with garden veg., and very nice it was too.

Next came the Bacon & Leek Pasta, which I can't seem to find featured on the blog here.  I feel sure I must have, because it's one of those recipes you fall back upon when nothing else is coming to mind, yet you need a quick and easy dinner.  Do tell if you know it's here somewhere!  (All of which tells me, it's about time I did an index of recipes!).

Saturday's special feature was the Nasi Goreng of much deliciousness.  For some reason, I couldn't fancy the chicken in it - and donated all of mine to hubby (who wasn't arguing!).  I couldn't get enough of the prawns, mind you, so maybe I was just having a seafood day.

As before, the flavour instantly woke up memories of eating it in more authentic situations in the past, so I know I'd got it about as right as my memory will allow.

There was even a bowlful of it left for lunch the next day, which I ate with a dollop of mango chutney beside.  I swear, the flavours were even better the following day - which makes me wonder if perhaps I shouldn't make it a day in advance in future!

Now Sunday's dinner all fell apart, after we got fed up being indoors and went out for a drive around the Blackmore Vale.  It truly is beautiful out there.  We found Hambledon Hill - the site of a Neolithic (Iron Age) Hill Fort - which is pretty darned awesome when viewed from the road and considerably below the rise of the hill.

We stopped off at a Supermarket on the way home and bought some salad and a couple of bags of Scampi in breadcrumbs.  As an easy dinner you can't really beat it.  Just add lemon wedges and you're away.  A scrummy end to a lovely day.

Now then, I must explain about Jack's Mum's Library Book Marmalade Cake.

On Thursday, we had a visit from my lovely friend Jenny Chubb.  Jenny and I go back to the "old days" of working at Hampton Court Palace, before it was taken over by Historic Royal Palaces and before they became a charity.  In the "old days", the Palace was run by a handful of managers, rather than the huge organisation that runs it (and the other unoccupied Royal Palaces) today.

However, in those days, Jenny and I worked in the same office - which got a tad confusing, being both named Jenny.  Because Jenny was there before I got there, she became Jenny 1 and I became Jenny 2 - which worked.  We would enjoy some deep discussions on theology, belief and psychology, interspersed with lots of silliness and quite a bit of giggling.  So much so, we were quite often chastised by the Palace Director, who worked two offices down the hall, for making too much noise.  Good times!

All this was around 20-odd years ago.  I worked at the Palace for 9 years, eventually leaving there before Jenny did.  We have seen each other briefly over the ensuing years but have mostly kept in touch via birthday cards and latterly email and Facebook.  So, when I heard she would be popping in, I just had to make her a cake.  After all, you can't write a food blog and another blog column in your local newspaper and claim "I haven't anything in the cupboard!".

Now, by coincidence, I'd just been having a discussion via Twitter with @JackKnightCooks about his family cook books that have been handed down to him.  In one of these tomes was the recipe for his Mum's Marmalade Cake which she, in turn, had found the recipe for in the back of a library book.  Successive members of his family have since made the cake and it forms part of his childhood.  He writes about it on his blog The Knight of the Round Table and you'd undoubtedly find it interesting to read, so why not look him up?

I sat down to make the cake and, having got half-way through discovered that the jar of marmalade that I remembered being in the cupboard wasn't there any more!  However, there was a jar of Rose's Lemon & Lime marmalade which got subbed pretty darned quick.  To boost the lemony flavour, I also included the zest from a lemon - as I felt the orange zest wouldn't do a great deal without any orange marmalade to boost it.  I then crossed my fingers firmly and put it in the oven.

The cake that came out was completely gorgeous.  Buttery, fruity and with a close crumb yet it was light and airy with it.  The top baked to a lovely brown finish and the sugar that I'd sprinkled over helped with a welcome crunch.  Perfect with a cup of tea, it also served to make Jenny feel a little bit special - which was nice!

I've detailed the recipe below, not because I want to claim it as mine, but because it differs somewhat from Jack's recipe and it's always worth keeping a recipe that works!


Ingredients :

225g plain flour
pinch of salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
110g butter
50g caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1 orange
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs beaten
3 tablespoons lemon & lime marmalade
3 tablespoons milk.

Method :

1.  Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180c, 160c fan. Grease and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin, or use a loaf tin liner.

2.  Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl.  Rub in the butter or use a food processor to do it for you, as I did.

3.  Add the sugar and rind and stir to combine.

4.  Mix in the beaten eggs, marmalade and milk, to a soft batter.

5.  Pour into the tin, and bake for 1 hour and fifteen minutes to 1 hour and thirty minutes on the centre shelf. 

6.  Leave in the tin for fifteen minutes and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.



  1. Hello, Jack of The Knight of the Round Table here, I am so pleased you liked the cake.

  2. We loved it, Jack! Jenny said it made her feel very special, to have a cake baked in her honour - so your blog post happened at exactly the right time. :) Thank you!


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