The thing with vowing to make 52 different bakes in a year, it turns out, is that you have to keep finding new things to bake, and you don’t have time to make your old favourites as well. Every time I bake something that goes down well, the husband looks at me mournfully and says, “Can we have that again next year, please?”
Still, if it hadn’t been for the 52 bake challenge, I’m pretty sure I’d never have made Grape Cake.
Like so many other things, this bake is entirely the Daughter’s fault. While last week’s Banana Bread was in the oven, she dragged me upstairs to play shop. As she pulled out her plastic food to put in her basket, she named them. “Banana, like in our banana bread. Oranges and lemons, like in our cakes. Grapes…” she paused, and looked at me. “Mummy. Next week, can we make Grape Cake?”
I’ll admit, I was reluctant. “I don’t think people really make cakes with grapes in them.”
“Why not?” she asked.
For the life of me, I couldn’t think of a reason. “How about this. I’ll have a look and see if I can find a Grape Cake recipe, and if I can we’ll make it next week. Okay?”
My friends, ever sensitive to my needs, suggested that a cake with wine in it might suffice. Or, maybe just drinking wine while eating cake? I suspected this would not cut it with the Daughter.
My mother, however, sent me a raft of Grape Cake recipes, and laughed at me, just a bit.
Anyway, after sifting through the unexpectedly numerous selection of Grape Cake recipes, the Daughter and I settled on this one, a Citrus Grape Cake from the BBC Good Food website. And, as it came out of the oven and we cut into it, still warm, it turned out it was utterly, utterly delicious. As the Daughter told me she’d known it would be, all along.
Eventually, I suppose I’m just going to have to accept that she’s smarter than me.
Citrus Grape Cake
- 225ml dessert wine, such as Muscat de Beaumes
- 200g light muscovado sugar
- 100g softened butter
- 3 eggs
- zest 1 orange
- zest 1 lemon
- 175ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 225g plain flour, plus 1 tbsp for dusting
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 175g grapes, halved and seeded
- 4-5 tbsp demerara sugar
- Pour the wine into a small pan. Bring to the boil, then keep simmering until reduced down to 85ml – this will take 5-10 mins. Leave to cool.
- Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Brush a 23cm springform cake tin with olive oil, tip in 1 tbsp flour, then shake all over the pan until covered. Discard any excess.
- Beat together the sugar and butter until creamy and well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, then stir through the zests.
- Stir together the cooled wine and olive oil, then pour a little into the cake mix. Stir, then fold in a third of the flour and the baking powder. Keep alternating between adding the liquid and flour until everything has been incorporated and the batter is smooth.
- Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin, then smooth the surface with the back of the spoon.
- Scatter the halved grapes over the top, then sprinkle over the sugar.
- Bake for 35-40 mins until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Eat warm or cool. Will store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.