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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.


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

The Love Cake is made for the people you love.

David T. Macknet said...

Hey! Happy Holidays to you & yours, and here's hoping that you have a happy new year as well!

I wondered about your recipe: it sounds very interesting, but you mention "ground powder" as one of the ingredients. I'm thinking that you meant to put "ground powdered ... something" instead. What ingredient would that be? ;)

Dharm said...

Funny, that's what my Dad says too!!

Thanks for picking up on the error. Its ground cinammon. I've edited the recipe. thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Uhhh........do you happen to have any more of this delicious cake???


Ann Jebaratnam said...

Hi there, I came across your blog some time ago when I was desperately looking for a Love Cake recipe. No one who knew how to bake it wanted to share the recipe with me! I'm pleased to say that I tried 7 recipes until I got it right. How did I know I got it right? The same people who didn't want to share their recipes requested mine! Hummph! Anyway, I didn't try your recipe (it was No. 8 in the list to try) but it's one of those I have saved still. Anyone who shares a family recipe deserves a big thanks... so thanks!

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