Thursday, 17 January 2008

The household of pink cakes

In the first week back at school after the Christmas break, C came back home one day and announced that there was a competition at school to invent a recipe that had at least one ingredient from a can. Before I could start on my regular rant about the iniquities of food mass manufacturers and the benefits of eating fresh green vegetables rather than things from cans, C quickly (he's wise that one) jumped in to say "and I've thought up a recipe already - we're going to make a marble cake using tinned cherries".

I have no idea where his inspiration came from. I don't think I've ever bought tinned cherries in my life. But the vision was there, and really quite fixed. It certainly put a stop to my rant.

It was to be a marble cake - part plain vanilla sponge, and part sponge coloured pink with the cherry juice. There would then be a chocolate icing with tinned cherries decorating the top. I wasn't keen on the chocolate icing part - I explained to C the queasiness I feel for Black Forest Gateau, and suggested to him that a mascarpone icing incorporating chopped cherries might be a more sophisticated option. He rolled his eyes in the way that only 8 year old boys can and said "Who's entering this competition, you or me?" Good point.

So we compromised in the end and settled on a white chocolate and cherry icing with the cherries studded on top.

The Great Canned Cherry Marble Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 275g butter at room temperature
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 275g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 can of cherries
  • a few good shakes of icing sugar
  • half a large bar of white chocolate

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add 1 egg and a quarter of the flour and beat in well. Repeat with the rest of the eggs and flour until all is used up. Divide the cake mixture into two bowls. Add the vanilla to one bowl and mix to incorporate. Add 2 tablespoons of cherry juice to the other bowl and mix.


Grease and line with baking parchment either two sandwich tins or one 20cm springform tin (We went for the latter as C was adamant that the icing had to be on the top not in the middle; like I said, he had a vision). Put dollops of both colours of cake mixture into the tin and mix gently with the blade of a knife.


Put in the oven at gas mark 6 for 25 minutes if using sandwich tins, or 45 minutes if using the springform tin. Check the cake is cooked through by stabbing with a cocktail stick and checking if the cocktail stick is clean (NB: good task for an 8 year old).


To make the icing, put a good shake of icing sugar into a wire sieve and sift into a large bowl. Add cherry juice to the icing sugar and beat well until you have a thick spooning consistency. Put the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and when melted stir into the icing. Spread the icing over the top of the cake and decorate with cherries.


It looks and smells amazing, but I am not allowed to eat any this evening because C wants to have the first slice in his lunchbox tomorrow. I daren't disobey.

Fortunately I did a little baking of my own two days ago, so I don't feel too much the sous chef in my own kitchen.


I made these rose cupcakes (or pinkie cupcakes if you will!) to take in to my colleagues at work. The cupcakes are made using the basic recipe that Nigella gives on page 40 of her How To Be A Domestic Goddess book). I then made a batch of icing using a few drops of rose water and a couple of tiny drops of pink food colouring and finished off by decorating the cupcakes with crystallised rose petals.


They went down a treat at work, all twelve vanishing in less than 20 minutes!


  1. wow-check out the cherry cake! C, you are a chef in the making, it looks amazing! (my god tinned cherries are HUGE!) Taking cakes into work is definitely the way forward, it keeps my lot happy, although they are getting fed up of sticky ginger cake now...x

  2. both types of pink cake look amazing! great creativity there from C, I hope he enjoys it in his lunch tomorrow!

  3. The cherry cake looks amazing. I love tinned cherries and made a pretty fabulous trifle (even though I do say so myself!) at Christmas using tinned cherries, chocolate and mascapone. It was from a Waitrose recipe card and went down a treat!


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