This month, I had the honour of picking the books for “This Book Makes Me Cook”. And the unanimous decision was for Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I read this book long ago as a teenager and I have enjoyed reading it again with my daughter sometime back.
On first thought this book takes me back memories of an Alice who keeps growing and shrinking depending on what she ate or drank, a grinning Cheshire cat, the Mad Hatter’s teaparty, knaves painting white roses red, Alice and the Queen playing croquet with flamingoes and hedgehogs and a Queen of Hearts who keeps shouting “Off with their heads”!!
The first chapter of “Alice In Wonderland” starts with Alice getting with sitting down while her sister reads a book without any pictures. She then sees a White Rabbit (with pink eyes) that carries a watch and talks to itself, so she follows the rabbit down a hole.
She finally reaches the bottom of the hole to find………..
"it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed; it was labelled `ORANGE MARMALADE', but to her great disappointment it was empty!"
I, on the other hand, had a jar which was full of Orange Marmalade. So I decided not go any further but see what I could do with marmalade.
My husband and our daughter do not like marmalade because “it is bitter and not sweet enough”. I enjoy butter and marmalade on hot toast but there’s only so much marmalade I can eat. So this was the perfect opportunity to try something different.
After much searching (I found a few good ideas which I shall be trying out in the future), I found Denise’s Orange Marmalade Cake at Allrecipes which seemed just right. I mostly followed that recipe with a few changes.
The marmalade I get here, in India, is sweeter (not as sweet as jam) than marmalade should be. So I used less sugar than suggested. You may need to adjust the sugar according to how sweet your marmalade is.
Here’s my adaptation of the original recipe.
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup salted butter, melted (for unsalted butter add ¼ tsp salt)
½ cup sugar
½ cup milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
¼ tsp powdered cloves
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ cup, chopped walnuts
¼ cup golden raisins
½ cup orange marmalade
Sift together all the dry ingredients other than the sugar, nuts and raisins.
In another bowl, stir together the sugar, melted butter, eggs, milk and lemon juice. Add the sifted ingredients and mix by hand, till well blended. Stir in the marmalade, walnuts and raisins.
Pour the batter into a greased bundt pan and bake for about 50 minutes or till the cake springs back when touched. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then cool on a rack.
First of all, let me say that this is a moist and delicious cake which is wonderful with coffee. My marmalade disliking family couldn’t believe there was marmalade in it and gave it the thumbs up.
I have a small 8” bundt pan yet the batter just filled half the pan and the pieces were very small as the cake didn’t seem to rise very much. The next time I bake this, I shall bake it my 6” round cake tin and perhaps increase the baking powder by ½ a tsp.
Do drop by my fellow bookworms Bhags, Dee, Harini, Rachel, Simran, Siri, Srimathi and Sweatha to see what Alice In Wonderland inspired them to cook.