05 January 2012

Orange Rock Cakes!

I don't know about you, but rock cakes were well-established in my childhood.  I knew what they were, like I knew of the existence of pancakes. I assumed that everyone had seen/eaten a rock cake before, especially with the popularity of the Harry Potter series. I made them in Food Tech, and I remember that my partner and I ended up with the honey version of the recipe, and our rock cakes were too doughy and bland. Other groups had varying amounts of sugar, and we all tried to get chunks from the group that made rock cakes with the highest ratio of sugar. I think that Ms. Revans was trying to teach us that we could vary sugar content to make healthier foods, but I don't think the message sunk in. I never used to be obsessed with food. Maybe it should've stayed that way.
THE KITCHEN SMELLS AMAZING! If I could capture smells for my blog, I'd have you room smelling like sweet, buttery dough right now. It's a distinct orange-rock-cake smell, highly unlike the aroma of chocolate chip cookies, and definitely distinct from the whiff of orange cake.

I got my rock cake recipe from Baking for Britain. I've been meaning to try this recipe for at least 2 (?) years, and today, because I wanted to make something British (to remind me of the lack of Britishness in New Jersey), I settled on this. AND NOW I HAVE A FRAGRANT KITCHEN!

The changes I made were:
1. Whole wheat flour instead of white flour
2. 50 g sugar instead of 75 g 
3. Raisins instead of candied peel and rind, because I didn't want to use an orange
4. Orange juice instead of an orange because the 2.84 L bottle expires in a month (we have 1.5 L left)
5. Baking time of 11 minutes at 350 F/180 C in an unpreheated oven on the lower shelf and then leaving the rock cakes in the oven (off) for some 30 minutes.

I remarked that one tablespoon of orange juice really DOES make a difference to the consistency of the dough. Before I put in the last tablespoon, the dough was slightly crumbly and dry. After merely ONE tablespoon of juice, the dough was gooey-er and stuck better together. Also, per usual for the winter, there were lumps of butter in the dough. This isn't a big deal, though, because [next part is highly unscientific and is highly speculated] when the rock cake is baking, the butter will melt and all that liquid will infiltrate the flour-y parts, so the end result is still a rock cake. When I was scooping the dough onto the pan, it smelled just like the rock cakes I made in Food Tech. I'm not really sure when else I've consumed rock cakes, but I know I definitely have, several times in my life.
They taste crunchy the way a rock cake should, yet have a springy, barely-moist center, have a great texture due to the whole wheat flour, aren't too sweet (the raisins add a nice touch), and are, as Baking for Britain says, "craggy".

25 (24 pictured, since I had already eaten one...) rock cakes that *drumroll* rock!

UPDATE:: 6 Jan 2012: Made two more batches of these because my mum loves them. Also, squeezing 1.8 batches onto that cookie pan above actually works! (The dough doesn't expand).

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