I guess everyone has their own personal notion of what a retro cake is. A retro cake, to me, is the one my mother used to serve when she had her girlfriends over for the purpose of playing bridge or gossiping. Personally, out of the two activities I find gossiping to be a lot more fun than spending hours shuffling cards.
To get back to the cake, her cake was this dense rectangular pound cake studded with hard candied things (angelika and such) that tasted sour and that I would secretly pluck out when no one was looking. Strangely I had a yearning for this cake, wondering if I would find it as boring now as then.
The cake is a bit boring, but, hey, it is a classic. The major improvement here is that the candied fruits are actually good.
If you go through the trouble of making it, don’t worry, it will be gone fairly rapidly. It freezes well and I would freeze it in individual slices so that whenever you feel like it, you can reach into the freezer, grab a slice and warm it up in the toaster.
INGREDIENTS: 12 servings
- 2 cups all-purpose or cake flour (add 1/4 cup if using cake flour)
- 1 cup of unsalted butter or 1/2 cup of butter, 1/2 cup of oil
- 1 1/2 cups of extra-fine sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla or orange blossom or rose water or any other flavoring you like
- 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
- pinch of salt
- Fruits: 1 cup of dried cranberries, golden raisins, dried kiwi or melons or mangoes, diced small
- Beat butter (and oil, if using) and sugar till lighter in color. Mix the flour in a bowl with the baking powder and salt. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time and mix thoroughly each time. Add the flavoring. Add the flour mixture gradually and mix until well combined. Add the diced fruits.
- Line a rectangular loaf pan (or 2 if necessary) with parchment paper. Pour the batter and bake in a preheated 350F oven for about an hour. Twenty minutes into baking, you can score the cake with a knife all the way across the pan to form a slit in the middle; this is supposed to help the cake bake evenly. About 40 minutes into baking, check to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick in the middle.