J is for Jammy Cakes

Well, for this week's A-Z baking challenge I turned to the master of all home bakers, Mary Berry & have made her jammy cakes.  This recipe is from page 64 of her book, '100 Cakes and Bakes' which is basically a collection of Mary's favourite recipes.  It's a great little book & has everything you need from the basic scone recipe to the classic Victoria sponge, all sorts of celebration cakes & favourites such as shortbread and brownies.
I took some jammy cakes to my girlfriends last night to have with a cuppa after dinner.  They described them as looking like mini donuts & indeed that is a good description of them.  They are little round cakey treats with a small dollop of jam in the centre which, once baked, goes a bit chewy.  They are really easy to make & although I was tempted to use some of my rhubarb jam in the centres, I decided to stick with Mary's suggestion & use blackcurrant jam.  I think any jam would be nice really, I might try raspberry jam next time.  These little cakes are perfect to have with a cuppa if you are in that 'I feel like I need something else' mood that I often find myself in after dinner! 
Now, I have to be honest - I felt that my cakes turned out a fraction dry & this will be because when you make the mixture, you have to carefully add only enough of the milk & beaten egg until  you end up with a stiff dough.  My mix ended up a little too wet so of course I committed the cardinal sin & added a sprinkling more flour...tut tut.  So there's the reason why they are a tad dry.  I used a wooden spoon to mix in the liquid & actually I think it would be better to get stuck in & mix it all up with your hands.  For those of you who watch The Great British Bake Off, you'll know that Paul Hollywood is a great fan of mixing doughs with his hands.  He's not afraid to roll up his sleeves & get stuck in.  But he makes a good point, if you mix doughs with your hands you get a more accurate idea of how the mixture is feeling & how much more liquid you need to add. 
One other thing, Mary's recipe says it makes 24 jammy cakes & to achieve this you need to keep dividing the mixture up.  Sounds simple enough but I think because my mixture was too wet, it was a rather messy job so I gave up once I reached 20!  I think if you aim for lots of around a heaped teaspoon of mixture, you'll end up with 20-24.
Right - on to the recipe!     
225g self raising flour
1/4 level teaspoon of ground mixed spice (I used all spice, I suspect it's the same thing)
50g softened butter
100g caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten
3-4 tablespoons milk (Use 4 tablespoons & you can always keep some of the milk & egg mixture back)
A little blackcurrant jam
Some granulated white sugar for sprinkling (I took granulated sugar to mean just your usual white sugar as opposed to the finer caster sugar)
What to do
  1. Heat your oven to 200C static or 180C fan. 
  2. Prepare two baking trays by lining them with non-stick baking paper.  I also lightly sprayed the paper with some cooking spray just to be on the safe side!
  3. Place the flour, all spice & butter in a bowl & rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.  Stir in the caster sugar. TIP: I picked up a great trick from Mary Berry on her Great British Bake Off Masterclass the other day.  A quick & easy way to soften butter if it's straight from the fridge is to chop it into cubes & place it in a bowl of luke warm water for 10 mins to soften before draining off the water.  This works brilliantly & you can be getting everything else ready while you wait for the butter to soften.  
  4. Mix the egg & milk together & stir into the mixture (or if you are following my advice, about now is when you're washing your hands, rolling up your sleeves & getting ready to mix in the liquid with your hands!).
  5. Add only enough of the liquid to make a stiff dough.  Now, for my mixture I think the right amount would have been 3 tablespoons of milk so don't add the liquid all at once.  Just see how your mixture is coming together.
  6. Divide the dough into 24 pieces (or thereabouts!).  Roll each piece into a smooth ball & place on the baking tray.
  7. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to make a hole in each ball of mixture (don't make the hole right through though, just indent it enough to put the jam in). 
  8. Place about 1/4 teaspoon of jam into the centre of each ball & then sprinkle the tops with a little granulated sugar.
  9. Bake for around 10 mins or until the cakes are a light golden colour.  Remove from oven & cool on a wire rack.
Mary suggests that the jammy cakes are best eaten while they are still warm from the oven.
All that's left for you to do now is go & make that cuppa to have with your jammy cake - enjoy!


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