I have a slightly ambivalent relationship with cake. I mean, I like cake well enough but I don’t love it. If I’m going to make something sweet, I prefer to bake some cookies because they have a longer shelf life and they don’t require the commitment of cake. Once you bake a cake, you really need to eat it within a few days and I often forget about leftover cake, only to discover it a week or so later in a flowering bloom of mould – which freaks me out, not just because it looks disgusting, but because of the waste, the terrible waste.
Despite my lukewarm attitude towards the baking and eating of cake, I have very strong opinions about the kind of cakes I like best, which are pretty much simple, plain cakes of the type often classified as everyday cakes. The humble loaf cake is pretty much the way I like to roll when baking cakes such as this pear, chocolate and pistachio cake or simple French chocolate loaf cake or Ina Garten’s lemon cake… and now I have this new favourite: a super simple, no creaming of butter and sugar, almost one bowl (there is the whisking together of flours in another bowl and the melting of butter in a small pan) but, on the whole, not too messy and almost foolproof cake – the wholemeal cinnamon snacking cake (it is a bit of a tongue twister, if you say it fast!).
This cake is a keeper, a superb afternoon tea cake because it comes together quickly with basic ingredients. It’s lovely eaten plain but can be tizzed up with a slather of jam and some home-made crème fraîche, as we did for this particular afternoon tea. This cake is good – don’t be fooled by the wholemeal component because this is not a healthy cake. It has a full cup of brown sugar which gives it super crunchy, caramelized crust that sets it apart, as well as the cinnamon (of course) and a full tablespoon of vanilla essence – which may sound excessive but kind of ties the whole thing together. One of the 11-year-old cake gourmands of my acquaintance described it as a cross between a cinnamon doughnut and banana bread. The wholemeal cinnamon snacking cake – whisk one up for your next afternoon tea, I can almost guarantee it will be all eaten, so you won’t have a blooming forest of mould lying forgotten in your cake tin.
Wholemeal cinnamon snacking cake
Adapted from Sweet Amandine
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- ⅔ cup plain yoghurt or buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 125 grams butter
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup of plain white flour
- ¾ cup wholemeal flour (I use wholemeal spelt)
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarb soda (baking soda)
- ¼ teaspoon salt.