When you cook or bake, do you start with the ingredient or the recipe? If you answered ‘ingredient’, is it something you have in your pantry, fridge or fruit bowl that needs using up, or one that catches your eye in the supermarket or fruit and veg market?
Usually I fall into the first camp: what can I do with the leeks or apples from dad’s garden? Or the three dozen eggs from the chooks who have suddenly remembered how to lay eggs? (I’m eating a lot of omelets right now). I tend not to go out and buy an ingredient to make something; I prefer to look at what I’ve got first.
However, cruising through the supermarket aisles the other day, right next to the rolled oats I needed, was the jam aisle. I’m not usually tempted by the jam aisle, as I have a fridge door full of mum’s jams and pickles and chutneys and other condiments (her recent beetroot relish was delicious, especially with her home-made labneh cheese. Yes, my mum made her own cheese. I need to give her a guest post soon!).
But on that fateful morning, I caught sight of all those iconic jars by the French brand Bonne Maman (if you’re into having pretty storage, these squat glass jars with their red gingham lids are the go).
Specifically, the jar labelled ‘fig conserve’ caught my eye and in a flash I remembered a recipe I had tucked away for fig jam and raisin roll cake. Into the trolley went that jar!
The next step was procuring the roll tins - metal cylinders with lids at either ends. Who has these anymore? When was the last time you saw a recipe for a roll cake? Such a wonderfully old-fashioned morning tea or after-school treat: remember those thick discs of date and walnut rolls smeared with butter?
Luckily mum had two tins, so I was all set to go. If you’ve never used these tins before, a word or two from my recent experience:
- cut baking paper circles to fit the lids, and a sheet for each cylinder. Grease one side of each sheet then insert that into the tin. I think greasing the tin itself would be near impossible (I was quite pleased at my ingenuity)
- the tins will have an air vent hole at one end; make sure this is at the top
- remove your middle and top oven racks: the tins need to stand upright in the oven
- once you’ve filled the tins, transfer them into your oven by holding the bottom lid securely, not just grabbing the cylinder as I did. Some quick action saved the batter from dropping out all over the bench!
I was impatient and cut the cake too soon, hence it's collapsing under the weight of all those plump juicy raisins! Pretty spotty fabric from Frangipani Fabrics.
Fig jam and raisin roll cakeAdapted from a Women’s Weekly recipe
- Preheat oven to 180 and prepare tins and oven as above.
- Cream 125 grams soft butter with 1/2 cup light brown sugar, then add two large eggs.
- Then fold in 1/2 cups SR flour, a generous 1/2 cup fig jam (you know what I mean by 'generous' by now) and 1 cup of raisins (the recipe said tochop them but I left them whole). Spoon the batter into prepared tins, distributely it evenly between the two tins, then pop the lid on.
- Cook for 50 minutes. I thought mine were done at 45 (using the skewer test) but they could have done with an extra five minutes. Cool in tins for a few minutes then use the paper lining to pull out the cake and cool a litte more on racks before slicing.