Saturday, 29 December 2007
Love Cake - Christmas Tradition 2
Yet another cake that surfaces at Christmas time is the Love Cake. This cake is basically a semolina cake with lots and lots of cashew nuts and spices thrown in together with rose essence and brandy. It is quite a lovely cake but is rather time consuming to make. Just like the Fruit Cake I have helped my mother make it many, many times but have never done it myself. The Lovely Wife of course has taken over this tradition and true to form, I still help in making the cake!
No one has been able to give me a sensible answer as to why it is called a Love Cake. It has its roots in Sri Lanka and is apparently adapted from Portugese cuisine. My family has had Love Cake for Christmas for as long as I can remember and I also recall that my mother used to cut it into small squares as it was best eaten in small pieces that you could readily pop into your mouth!
My mother's recipe uses a lot of Honey and results in a slightly stickier and moister cake. My wife favours the recipe that was passed down by my Paternal grandmother and we have all wised up on her measurements!
Aside from the differences in measuring cups (rememember my Grandmother used Non Standard Wine Glasses for her alcohol measures!), this recipe uses 'arbitary' measurements like 6 or more egg whites. Hmmm....
There is also a lot left out of the recipe such as the consistency required as the recipe, as given, simply says add egg whites. So, how many egg whites are you really supposed to use if the quantity specified is 6 or more? Maybe 22 egg whites?? Hehehehehe.
So anyway, since I have the benefit of having watched many, many Love Cakes being made over the years, I now reproduce for you my Grandmother's Love Cake Recipe - and simplified and explained as best I can:
1 lb semolina
1 lb Cashew nuts
1 1/2 lbs Caster Sugar
12 egg yolks
6-8 egg whites (see? I'm a bit more specific!)
3/4 lb butter
1/8 cup rose essence
1/8 cup brandy
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinammon
2 tsp vanilla essence
*Note, you can add in more brandy, essence and spices as your tastes dictate
Mince cashews or chop finely. Warm the semolina in the oven and them mix in the softened butter.
Cream sugarand egg yolks together until light and creamy. Add in chopped cashew nuts to the mixture. Add in the semolina mix and mix well. Add in the brandy, essence and spices.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and slowly add to the mixture, folding in gently. Add enough egg whites so the mixture gets to dropping consistency.
Double Line (use two sheets of greaseproff paper) and grease a 12x12" tin (or similar size). Pour and smoothen mixture into pan and bake in a preheated 180C oven for 1 to 1.5 hours or till done. The cake will have a crusty top and moist center.