Bitter-candy recollections: Rachel Roddy’s recipe for marmalade cake




The different day I opened an ebook to discover a sentence, and a chunk of paper fell out. As the square piece of block pad glided to the ground like a dead moth, I acknowledged it as a recipe for a hoop cake written out for me no longer long after coming to Italy, about 14 years in the past. I keep in mind making the recipe several instances, earlier than the usage of it as a bookmark that turned into left on page 76. What I don’t remember or realize is whose neat writing it’s far.

My reminiscence lapse is irritating. Sharing a recipe is an open-handed act, one made even greater tangible if the man or woman sharing has taken the time bodily to jot down it out, maybe with notes, that’s a small labor in those replica-and-image times.

Even if the recipe given is never made, I need to remember where in the Post-It lemon pudding or returned-of-envelope braised chicken got here from. And if the recipe turns into part of my cooking lifestyles, it’s miles no distinctive from a recipe from an e-book or famous chef: it without a doubt should have that man or woman attached to it, like a call tag sewn right into a collar. Then, on every occasion the recipe is made, the person and your courting to them, something it changed into, is remembered. Even if it means you need to relive a tired alternate approximately authenticity, or be reminded that Mario finally left his wife for his secretary, recipes have names: Mario’s pink-wine risotto; my stylish neighbor Vera’s creme caramel; Lise from Bavaria’s liver and apple.


Shared name-tagged recipes also are a manner of marking time. Years in the past, I organised my mum’s free recipes, gluing the unfastened-leaf pages and lips of envelopes into a book and noting wherein and who they came from. The e-book is now a sort of collective biography of our own family – a strained one.

Freda Coleman became a neighbour in the late Nineteen Seventies, and her marmalade cake marks the margarine years. It turned into, and is, an excellent cake for a circle of relatives with congenital marmalade dependency: a rich pound batter into which you stir orange marmalade, which bakes right into a sour-candy cake. The icing is as accurate because the cake, that you zig-zag over the pinnacle wherein it then sets into a difficult lattice that can be pulled off, although with any luck no longer from the entire cake as once came about.

Part of the pride of a cake is the smell as it bakes: marmalade bakes into an almost toffee-like sweetness, and optimistically a piece of peel at the bottom of the cake catches and the odor of that, like dark treacle, attacks your senses.

Recipes are simplest recipes, however they could come to be fixed factors in our lives around which other things pass: with them, we will measure time, places, humans. Freda’s cake – now our family cake – is one such recipe. If I may want to most effective don’t forget the name of the individual that gave me the recipe that fell out of the e-book, that would have a call tag too. Until then, it’s far just a ring cake. Both desserts are top, however the marmalade triumphs for its amber chunks of peel and icing which, due to the fact cake is 50% pleasure, 50% dependancy, I nonetheless need to pull off before ingesting a slice.

Freda Coleman’s marmalade cake
This is a cake of four equal parts, plus marmalade (thick-cut or thin, you decide). It is a choice based on dependency, however a loaf tin (coated with parchment) seems the best tin for this cake.

Prep 10 min
Cook 40 min
Makes 1 loaf

110g margarine or butter, at room temp
110g sugar
2 medium eggs
110g self-elevating flour
4 heaped tbsp marmalade
50g icing sugar
Hot water

Beat collectively the butter and sugar till smooth and creamy. Beat within the eggs, accompanied by way of the flour, before stirring in 3 tablespoons of marmalade.

Scape the aggregate into a loaf tin covered with parchment. Bake at 170C (150C)/335F/gasoline three for 35 to forty mins, or till the top of the cake is hyped up and cracked, and a strand of spaghetti comes out smooth.

Leave to chill for half-hour, then elevate the cake from the tin.

To make the glaze, loosen the final tablespoon of marmalade with a bit hot water, then brush the cake.

Make a thick icing using blending the icing sugar with only a little water, and zig-zag it over the cake, letting it dribble down the edges.

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