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Monday 28 April 2008

Power cuts and cake

Last night was a really beautiful still night. I went for a walk down to the shore and listened to the waves breaking over the small ridge of pebbles that have gathered along the tide line on Sandside Beach. It was a lovely sound. I could hear the curlews and other shore birds calling too. The lights from Stromness were reflected in the water and reached across to the “Bar Buoy”. It was a lovely peaceful evening and not at all chilly.

Today is a marked contrast – it has been wet, windy and cold. Added to that we have had two prolonged power-cuts which have been a real nuisance as today should have been a work day for me. So I shall now have to reschedule my work for the week which was already looking pretty busy.

However at least the power outage appears to be sorted – it seems there were some cables down somewhere on the island and the electricity board had to send out engineers on the boat to fix the problem. Not sure what caused the cables to come down as, although it is breezy, it’s not *that* windy. But perhaps they had been weakened by earlier storms.

Anyway I always have a battery radio to hand and spent the afternoon lazing on the sofa reading and listening to the radio. I was able to heat up water in a saucepan so at least wasn’t deprived of my hourly cup of tea – and after my baking at the weekend I have a plentiful supply of CAKE. Normally I'd enjoy such an afternoon but when I know I have lots of work to do it takes the edge off the enjoyment.

Anyway – here’s the recipe for the orange and sultana tray bake – it’s the first time I tried the recipe and I was really pleased with the results.

Orange & Sultana Tray Bake

8 oz soft margarine or butter

8 oz castor sugar

10 oz self-raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 eggs

2 tablespoons milk

10 oz sultanas

Grated rind of 2 oranges

Demerara sugar

1. Preheat oven to 180 Centigrade. Grease and base line a roasting tin (size 12 x 9 inches/30x23cm – though I used a 9 inch square tin which was about 2 inches deep)

2. Measure all the ingredients except the Demerara sugar into a large bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes until well blended. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.

3. Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes then sprinkle the top with Demerara sugar and return to oven for a further 10-15 minutes or until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the tin and springs back when pressed in the centre with your fingertips. Leave to cool in the tin.

Note: While the cake is in the oven eat the two oranges – see I knew if I tried hard enough I’d make Cake healthy!

For me the ratio of effort to reward is about right – it’s really easy to make and provides a decent amount of delicious Cake! So if anyone has any similar cake recipes they’d like to share I’d love to hear about them……


  1. Sounds good - but you'll have to translate for the Yanks. I don't understand "castor sugar" or "demerara sugar". Sultanas are, I think, what we call raisins.

  2. There we go again with that common language ;-).
    Sultana : (From Wikepedia) “The sultana (also called the sultanina or sultani) is a type of white, seedless grape. It is also the name given to the raisin made from it; such sultana raisins are often called simply sultanas or sultanis. These are typically larger than the currants made from Zante grapes, but smaller than "normal" raisins. Sultana raisins have a delicate and unique flavor and are especially noted for their sweetness and golden colour.” We have raisins here too – but sultanas and bigger and more golden in colour.
    Castor sugar: sugar used in baking, a very refined white sugar, smaller crystals than granulated sugar.
    Demerara sugar : a raw unrefined sugar – brown in colour. As it’s used as a topping I would think any unrefined or “brown” sugar will do maybe? Sian

  3. Caster sugar = Superfine sugar
    Demerara sugar = Turbinado sugar

  4. Thanks for the translations Fiona!

  5. (Coming late to the cake party)

    I've also found here in the US that a good substitute for sultanas are golden raisins. Sunmaid makes them, and they're about the right size and taste.

    I've been known to blitz regular table sugar in my food processor to get my castor sugar (like here:

  6. Amanda, thanks for the tip about castor sugar! I sometimes run out and can't just pop to the shops for some more - it hadn't occurred to me I could run it through the processor! Sian