Cakes, flowers and spring is in the air

Spring is definitely in the air.  It was 16C today and the sun was shining, and as well as our one solitary daffodil in the garden (I may say there are loads in the Botanic Gardens) we have some other plants coming to life, including this magnolia (if I am wrong in my identification, please let me know!)

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Magnolia blooming

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The garden shed hidden in the bushes

Yesterday, Sunday, we popped into the library for books and a cup of tea and a cake.  Quite indulgent given my plan for later!

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Tea and a coconut and blueberry cake

The plan for later was to make a cake using some of the tangelos that we got last weekend.  They are a bitter fruit, so you need to add quite a bit of sugar and spice to them.  I decided on an upside down cake, using a tried and trusted cake base with a syrup topping (recipe below).  The boys were not so sure about the marmalade type topping, though I liked it.  The cake was as light as a feather and full of flavour, so they were happy at least with that, and a lot of it disappeared quite quickly.

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The cake cooling – note one bit of fruit not behaving itself

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Cake on a plate

Anyway, another recipe for you to try!

Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 20-22cm cake pan (cake tins I have found are different sizes in different countries).

Topping: Put 165g sugar and 125ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring all the time for about 2 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook for around 8 minutes or until a golden caramel.  Add 15g of butter until it melts, then pour over the base of the cake pan to cover.  It will set quite quickly so be warned!

Prepare the tangelos by topping and tailing them (I used about 6), then cut away the peel and white pith.  Cut into 3mm thick slices, and arrange them however you like over the base of the tin on top of the caramel.  Dust lightly with a little cinnamon.

In a bowl place 200g butter, 200 g caster sugar, 200g self-raising flour, a heaped teaspoon of baking powder, 1 generous teaspoon of vanilla essence, 4 eggs and 2 generous tablespoons of orange juice.  Beat, using an electric whisk, until you get a soft consistency, then spoon on top of the tangelos.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes depending on your oven.  Ours is horrible and uneven.  Anyway, leave to stand for at least 5 minutes before turning out.

I usually use this recipe for pineapple upside down cake, using tinned pineapple slices, pineapple juice from the tin instead of orange juice and just use a mixture of butter and brown sugar for the topping, which I mix and spread over the tin.  It always disappears fast.

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