Last Christmas Mr Foodie and the jBug gave me Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and a traybake tin (or ‘traybake train’ as the jBug likes to call it). On the face of it. it seems a rather boring and practical present but I was quite excited to get my first ever baking cookbook and a tin so I could make some of the recipes. I’ve baked quite a few of the traybakes as most of them are of “weigh everything into a bowl, beat for a few minutes, put in the tin and bake” school of baking. This is ideal with a rather impatient 2 year old around who is happier to eat what I produce rather than help to make it! Traybakes are also good as you get a reasonable quantity of cake for not a lot of effort. This may sound a little odd but most of what I bake gets sent to Mr Foodie’s work and with a traybake there is enough to share but also some left over for us to eat . The cherry and almond caught my eye as it sounded light and summery. You can use fresh cherries for this recipe but I decided against this. As the cherry season is quite short, I prefer to just eat them raw instead!!
The recipe only has a few steps. First you grease and line your traybake train. Then you wash and quarter your cherries as apparently this stops them sinking to the bottom of the cake. At this point I didn’t read the recipe properly. It states to quarter them, put in a sieve and then rinse under running water. I put them into the sieve whole, rinsed, quartered and then rinsed again. I was quite glad I did this as I hate chopping up sticky glace cherries and this made them much easier to cut as they were hardly sticky at all. Then you put the cherries on kitchen paper and leave them to dry. I actually did this part first thing in the morning so by the time I came to make the traybake later in the day, they were fairly dry (the 28 degree heat outside probably helped too!)
Next you weigh butter, sugar, ground almonds, self raising flour, baking powder and eggs into a bowl along with the grated rind of 2 lemons and beat for a minute until thoroughly mixed. I don’t tend to time this part – I just beat until it looks well blended which works quite well. Then you fold in the cherries and pour the mixture into your tin. Finally you sprinkle on 25g of flaked almonds. This seemed a rather paltry amount so I just randomly sprinkled almonds on until the surface was generously covered. I reckon I used about 75g as it was a 150g packet when I started and only half was left when I had finished. The traybake is then baked for 40 minutes or until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the tin and springs back when you press it with your finger. Exactly 40 minutes later the traybake was ready. After leaving it to cool in the tin, the jBug and I were ready to sample it. The cherries were fairly evenly distributed through the cake (hooray) and the sponge was light and lemony. Personally I felt it needed more cherries as there only seemed to be one or two per slice. I’ll definitely be making it again but perhaps adding some more cherries next time.