Varda’s Cinnamon Cake – to Swirl or Not to Swirl?
Many of you who have The Feast Goes On (and are working your way through it!) have emailed us to tell us how much you LOVE Varda’s cinnamon cake (page 104). Some have asked us how they can bake it to look like the one pictured in the book, captured by Alan Benson, with a perfect cinnamon swirl (see picture, above).
For those of you who don’t know, this is a truly exceptional cake in flavour, crust and texture. Exceptional! And we thank Varda (and her cousin Margo) for sharing their treasured recipe with us.
The original cake (and we have been to Varda’s kitchen and watched her make it from beginning to end) does not really have a fine swirl through it. There is a lovely spray of cinnamon throughout the cake, and some of the mixture seeps through the cake and ends up at the bottom of the cake pan. This often ends up stuck to the pan so that you need to patch those crusty bits back on to what is (once turned out of the tin) the top of the cake. We always dust with icing sugar to camouflage the patchwork but it is those crusty bits that we think provide the delicious crunch on the outside of the cake.
We are always reluctant to change a recipe so that it differs from the original, so we left it as is – Varda does not swirl it through.
But some of you really want the swirl. As does Natanya! It was Natanya who baked the cake for our photo shoot and she played around with the cinnamon mixture (fine drizzle, swirling with skewer) as she wanted that defined swirl throughout – which is why the one photographed looks like it does.
But since many have now asked about the swirl, this is what you need to do to achieve perfect swirlness:
1. Make sure the cinnamon mixture is hot, smooth and runny when you add to the cake batter
2. Pour all the batter into the tin before adding the cinnamon mixture (not ¾ as the recipe says)
3. Drizzle the cinnamon mixture in a fine stream around and around over the top of the batter.
4. With a fork, swirl the cinnamon mixture throughout the cake batter. See the picture below.
5. Bake as usual.
One more thing we should add is that Varda often makes the cake with apple juice in place of orange juice, so if you’ve run out of oranges and have a bottle of apple juice in your pantry, this cake has just become even easier!
Happy baking all – please send us pictures of your cinnamon cakes.
The MMCC girls xxx
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