chocolate and banana cake, and was looking for recipes, I initially decided on a chocolate chip cake using buttermilk. When I changed my mind, I was left with a carton of buttermilk which needed using quite quickly, as it didn't have a long 'use-by' date. Another search for a recipe was on! This time I wanted something seasonal, not too big, and not too fancy.
This fruit cake recipe, found on Joy of Baking, which adds dates, spices and other dried fruit to a buttermilk cake batter, fit the bill perfectly. The recipe didn't need any eggs, which was quite intriguing, just relying on the action of bicarbonate of soda with buttermilk to raise the cake. I didn't have currants or raisins needed to follow the recipe exactly, but used 100g sultanas and 100g of a mix of chopped dried apricots, sour cherries and crystallised ginger instead.
The thing I really enjoyed about this cake was the spice mix; allspice isn't something I use often but it really worked well with cinnamon and nutmeg to give a warm and peppery background flavour to the dried fruit. Overall the cake was moist and well textured - the absence of eggs wasn't obvious.
Baking the cake in a 9" x 5" tin made what my mother would have called a 'slab cake' - something deeper than a traybake but shallower than normal for a cake. I think a smaller baking tin would have made a cake with better proportions, but it may not have cooked as well; I'm sure there was a good reason for that sized tin being used.