Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Currant and Raisin Cake: A simple
appearance disguises a winning taste and texture

“Does that cake need any icing or anything?”
   My husband asked this question when he saw Irish Currant and Raisin Cake (click for the recipe) cooling on the counter when I made it for the first time recently.
   “No,” I said, but I told him I knew what he was getting at – it looked as if the cake would be dry.
   It was a concern that was blasted into outer space when we tried it.
   Its plain and simple, no frills appearance had disguised a surprisingly fluffy and light texture, likely due to a combination of baking powder, baking soda and buttermilk. The cake was nowhere near dry, and icing would have been an absolutely absurd addition.
   And the taste, oh, the taste. This cake was delicious. Since I love currants, I was in heaven.
   Although I’m posting this entry on St. Patrick’s Day, Irish Currant and Raisin Cake will work well beyond the day that celebrates all things Ireland.
   It would, for example, be a lovely addition or ending to an Easter brunch or dinner, especially since it is family-friendly.
   The cake’s texture is best on the day it’s made, but covered in plastic and kept at room temperature it will still hold up taste-wise for about three days.
   The recipe says to bake the cake in an eight-inch round cake pan that is two inches deep.
   Since I only have eight-inch round cake pans that are 1.5” inches deep, I used a nine-inch round cake pan that is 1.5” deep instead, and used the lower-end cooking time of 45 minutes.
   The cake is very easy to make.
   Butter, sugar, and eggs are beaten together (I used a hand mixer), then a combination of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt is added alternately with buttermilk.
   Currants and raisins are tossed with a bit of flour and folded into the batter.
   The batter is scraped into a pan that is buttered and lined with parchment paper, and the cake is baked. After cooling in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes, it is turned out and cooled completely.

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