Thomasina Miers chooses one of her favourite cake recipes for Country Life.
‘This cake was invented by Claire Ptak, an exceptionally talented pastry chef. I was so enraptured by the taste when I first tried it that when she put it in Leon: Baking and Puddings she named it after me. I have since baked it many times. Last Christmas, short of time for stir-up Sunday, I quickly whipped it up, and have since added flaked almonds, currants and orange zest to the recipe (and occasionally a splash of something stronger) to make it even more festive’
Tommi’s more-fruit-than-cake cake (serves 8)
Extract from Claire Ptak and Henry Dimbleby’s Leon: Baking and Puddings (published by Conran Octopus)
Red wine and figs have a special affinity for one another and the spices in this recipe. The fig seeds create a wonderful popping sensation as they burst in your mouth.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
375ml red wine
375g dried figs, chopped
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
Quarter teaspoon ground cloves
125g unsalted butter, cold
250g honey, plus extra for the top
1 free-range egg, briefly whisked
200g spelt flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Heat the oven to 160˚C/325°F/gas mark 3. Line a 20cm [8in] square cake tin with baking paper. Put the red wine, figs and spices into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. When the fruit has plumped up a little (about 5 minutes), remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the butter and honey and leave for another 10 minutes. Stir in the egg.
Sift the flour, baking power and soda into a large mixing bowl. Pour the fig mixture over the flour mixture and stir just until mixed. Pour into the tin. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin.