It’s ten minutes after I’ve been taking photos on the back grass and the dog is sniffing around, searching for that solitary cake crumb that she won’t ever find.
But it’s summer, and that simply doesn’t matter. Summer is the time where you can legitimately waste an afternoon out in the sunshine for the sheer hell of it. Most people are on holiday anyway, so who is going to notice?
This care free attitude sounds like it should come from the Famous Five or some other children’s literature or yesteryear, but I think if we were all honest we’d recognise it in our adult lives. Except now we have more cake and the ‘lemonade’ is often a bit stronger…
I made a version of this cake a while back, but whilst it survived a flight in my hand luggage (you can’t take booze on a plane, but no one ever said anything about boozy cake) it – to be polite about it – lacked the sort of photogenic qualities to make it look at all appetising. So when I was approached by the PR people for Pimm’s a few weeks ago I happily agreed to create something delicious (that this time wasn’t going to be packed into an overhead locker).
Sadly for the dog she never found those crumbs she so desperately wanted, but for the rest of us it went down a treat. The jug of Pimm’s alongside it was just an added bonus.
Pimm’s Drizzle Cake
This recipe was inspired by an earlier version I made to take to a friend’s house, so is an original to The Usual Saucepans. I made this in a ratio to the weight of my eggs, but as a rough guide a large egg is about 65g; I would recommend weighing your eggs and using the same weight of butter, flour and sugar. It takes approximately an hour to make (excluding marinating and cooling) and you will end up with loaf of roughly 900g.
4 large eggs
240g plain flour
240g golden caster sugar
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 punnet of strawberries
100-150ml of Pimm’s (depending on personal taste)
1/2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
10-12 mint leaves
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
20ml orange juice
A couple of hours before you plan to bake (I did it at breakfast for baking at roughly 11am), hull and half your strawberries. Put the strawberry halves in a bowl with your Pimm’s, the cornflour and mint leaves (lightly muddled). Stir this all together an leave at room temperature to infuse.
When you come to bake, put your oven to 170ºC and line a large loaf tin.
Cream together the butter and the caster sugar until light an fluffy (about 5 minutes by wooden spoon, 2 by mixer) and then sift in the flour and combine. Whisk your eggs in a separate jug/bowl, with the vanilla, milk and a tablespoonful of the Pimm’s in with the strawberries. Pour in to the flour mix and gently mix together until combined and then beat a little more vigorously to get some air into the batter. It will become lighter as the air is beaten in, but if you’re using a mixer be careful not to over-beat or you will start to knock the air out again. This is quite a wet cake batter, so don’t worry if it isn’t as firm as others you’ve made.
Take a couple of handfuls of your strawberries and gently fold these (with minimal extra liquid) into the batter and then pour into the prepared loaf tin. Leave to stand for about 5-10 minutes. Put into the middle of the oven and cook for 40-50 minutes (it will depend on your oven and could take slightly longer). You’re looking for a springy top and a skewer going in and coming out clean, I wouldn’t check it before it’s been in for at least half an hour, and I’d wait until closer to 40 as it could collapse if you check too soon.
Once the cake is in the oven, get a small saucepan on to the hob. Pour the liquid that the strawberries have been sitting in, the orange juice and the icing sugar in. The leftover strawberries can now be put aside to make a pitcher of Pimm’s with, once the cake’s cooled. Gently heat the pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is quite hot – you do not want it to boil – which should be about five minutes or so. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.
Once the cake is out of the oven, let it sit for a couple of minutes and then poke holes all over the top with your skewer. Take a tablespoon and gently spoon your Pimm’s drizzle over the top of the cake. You will likely only need just over half the drizzle mixture (if you over-bake and the cake’s dry it will take a little more), but the remaining drizzle will make that pitcher of Pimm’s really sing.
Allow the cake to cool completely and then scatter icing sugar over it and add some fruit on top to serve. I would suggest serving with a large jug of Pimm’s on the side.