I have to be honest - I really really struggled to come up with an idea for this one (and it's sequel, The Rescuers Down Under!) When I first started this challenge, I made a list of the 49 movies in the Disney Classics Collection, and I used to write down any ideas I had for cakes next to the respective movie, so that I wouldn't forget. However, I ended up with 15 movies (including The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under) that I simply did not have a single idea for. It's not that I don't enjoy the Rescuers movies - I was just drawing a blank when it came to inspiration for the cakes!
As it turns out, sometimes good ideas come to you when you least expect them to. One night/morning way back in early September I woke at 5am and found myself unable to get back to sleep. So I started flicking through some recipe books, just to give myself a way to pass the time that wouldn't disturb my sleeping Mr. That was when I stumbled across a recipe for "porter cake". On reading the title, I initially thought, "Bernard is a porter! I could make a Bernard cake!" Yes!! An idea! OK, I know that technically Bernard is a "janitor" - but that's just a technicality, the two roles are synonymous (I even checked a thesaurus :-P) and of course, the "porter" in the recipe refers to beer rather than a job role - but I for one thought the link was great.
My one issue with this idea was that I didn't feel it right to make a "Bernard" cake without making a "Miss Bianca" cake - and I still needed an idea for The Rescuers Down Under, so I set about searching for my "Miss Bianca" recipe. And I found it the same evening! In a few weeks time I'll be making a sophisticated Hungarian Dobos Torte in honour of our sophisticated Hungarian madame mouse - this week I made a lovely porter cake in honour of Bernard, our porter/janitor extraordinaire.
This recipe came from, yep you guessed it, BBC Good Food's 101 Cakes and Bakes. I followed the recipe to the letter, as it was an unusual method I didn't want to ruin anything. As always, the 101 Cakes and Bakes recipe did not fail to impress!
Note: this cake takes a long long long time to bake! Just wanted to forewarn you!
Prep time: 40 mins Cook time: 1 hour - 1 hour 15 mins Serves: 8-10
175g slightly salted butter
450g mixed dried fruit
175g light brown sugar
200ml porter (Guinness or Caffrey's)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 medium eggs
300g plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
2tbsp flaked almonds
2tbsp coarse demerara sugar
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 3, and grease and line a deep baking tin. (I used 7.5" round)
- Chop the butter into cubes and place this in a large saucepan, with the mixed dried fruit, the zest and juice of the orange, the light brown sugar, and the porter. Begin to heat the ingredients slowly, stirring consistently until the butter melts. Once the butter has melted increase the heat under the pan until the mixture comes to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, then stir in the bicarbonate of soda. The mixture will start to foam up, this is supposed to happen!
- Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then stir them into the mixture a little at a time.
- Sift the flour and mixed spice into the pan and mix well until completely combined.
- Pour the mixture into the baking tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the flaked almonds and demerara sugar onto the top of the cake and then bake in the oven for 1 hour - 1 hour 15, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.