Hutch Cake

I’m devising and adapting recipes I have used for a long time and taking the likes and dislikes of friends into consideration then naming them after them. I am asking for donations to food banks for the *ahem* honour.

This cake was invented especially for my best mate Dave Hutchinson (@HutchinsonDave on Twitter) who is a brilliant writer and winner of the BSFA novel of the year award for 2016. Go out and buy his books and read them while you eat this cake.

Peel an medium sized orange – the best way to do this is start from the top and strip the peel downwards. Cut off any remaining pith and then cut into slices. You need to cut it into circles not segments and you’re aiming at about 5 or 6 slices. Put them under a hot grill until the edges are slightly charred then turn them over and let them get to the same stage. Remove from the heat and leave them, still on the wire rack, to cool.

Cream 4oz of margarine with 4oz of caster sugar until it’s light and fluffy – if you don’t have an electric beater then use a wooden spoon. I used golden caster sugar so the colour is darker than white sugar so don’t overwork the margarine or all you’ll get is a disgusting liquid mess.

Lightly beat two eggs (I store and use them at room temperature) and gradually beat them into the margarine and sugar mix. Do this gradually and if it looks as though it’s curdling then just add a little flour. Do this part of the process with a balloon whisk or similar if you don’t have a machine. I only use my electric beating contraption if I’m doing big quantities, I like getting messy when I bake.

Using a metal spoon (tablespoon is good) stir in 6 tablespoons of milk but do this gently – don’t knock the air out because nobody wants a flat cake.

Sieve in 8oz of self raising flour and 2 tablespoons of cocoa. It is important to sieve as the flour may look smooth and fine but there are lumps hiding in every corner and cocoa is just a powder waiting to lump at any opportunity.  Stir them into the mixture gently taking care not to knock the air out – be patient, it takes a little time.

Grease and flour a 2lb loaf tin and line the base with greaseproof paper or just put a ready made liner into it. If you think you may get into baking in a big way the liners are a great investment. They save a lot of hassle.

Spoon the mixture into the tin smoothing it as you go. When you’re about half way up the tin put a layer of chocolate chunks (I used 75% cocoa – you can get them in any supermarket or chop up cooking chocolate into small pieces.) in a seam down the middle of the tin – don’t let them touch the lining. Place the grilled oranges on top of them and then put another layer of chocolate chunks on top of them. Top gently with the remaining cake mixture – it is unlikely to level out flat but don’t worry about that.

Bake for about 30 minutes 170 fan oven/180 ordinary oven on a centre shelf or one slightly lower. A note for new bakers here – the cake will crack and the fruit is likely to rise but don’t worry about that because this is about taste and texture and yumminess not about looking beautiful or boring.

After 30 minutes do a skewer test. For new bakers this means that you gently push a skewer into the cake and if it comes out clean it’s done. You will quite like hit the seam of chocolate and it will show on the skewer and that’s okay. If it does that put the skewer in another part of the cake and if it comes out clean the cake is cooked.

Put the cake on a trellis still in the tin. After 5 minutes or so then remove it by picking up the edges of the liner and then transfer it to a cooling rack. When it’s cook remove it from the lining – the easiest way is to put a folded tea towel over the top of the cake, turn it upside down and peel off the liner/bottom lining.

Let it continue to cool (if you can wait that long, I never can) and then lock yourself in a room with a pot of tea, one of Dave’s books and don’t come out until you’ve finished both the cake and the book.

Happy eating!