This cake is so delicious it's actually a danger to public health. If too many people find out about this cake we will all waddle our way into an early grave, unable to stop shovelling it in. It's the real life version of the Winter Queen's enchanted Turkish Delight from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe...in short, just be warned if you're going into this blind.
The first time you make it you may want to make sure you've got an uninterrupted weekend to, you know, stay home. With your cake and unlimited access to the teapot.
Taken from Christie Matheson's Salty Sweets.
8oz unsalted butter, softened
8oz caster sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (but, you know, feel free to sneak some extra in)
3 large eggs, beaten
8oz plain flour, sifted
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
half a teaspoon fine sea salt
quarter of a cup of milk
vanilla sugar for dusting
grinder sea salt for sprinkling
vanilla simple syrup
Preheat the oven to 170.
I used a silicone loaf 'tin' for this; the book states an 8-inch square baking dish; you get an idea of the proportions. Anyway line/grease/spray as you need to.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and pale. Add the vanilla essence, and then beat in the eggs one at a time.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and fine sea salt. Fold in half the flour mixture first then the milk. Fold in the rest of the flour and combine until just mixed. Bake for about an hour until the top of the cake is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
When the cake is warm, drown it somewhat in the salted vanilla syrup*. Oh how dirty. Okay don't DROWN it. Brush it heavily and then, you know, brush it some more when it's soaked in. And then a little more. I like it damp.
Dust liberally with vanilla sugar and sea salt, then close the curtains and get busy.
*Salted vanilla syrup
half a cup of sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
salt to taste
half a cup of water
Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer until all the sugar is dissolved, for about 4 or 5 minutes.