If there’s one thing you can expect from me, on my blog and in my books, it is cake.
Somehow I’ve managed to get half the internet to associate me with cake, and you know what??? I’m okay with that. That is the meaning of success. And, staying true to myself and my beliefs in life, I have a scene dedicated to cake in my upcoming debut, A Thousand Perfect Notes.
Now how would YOU like to make that cake?!!
My friend Alison from Wonderland Recipes has invented a recipe just for my book (!!) and I’m literally busting out of my skin with excitement for this collaboration, okay?! It is the best. All collabs pale in comparison to this because CAKE. (I’m so hAPPY, Alison, thank you!)
And this is actually a doubly special occasion because Alison’s cookbook is out today and it’s called A Literary Tea Party and it’s full of recipes from all your favourite books. It has recipes for Turkish Delight from Narnia, Queen of Hearts cupcakes from Alice in Wonderland, Eeyore’s birthday cake, Jo’s gingerbread from Little Women, and Tom Sawyer’s Jelly Doughnuts…just to name a few!!
Happy release day to A Literary Tea Party!!
Tea and books: the perfect pairing. There’s nothing quite like sitting down to a good book on a lovely afternoon with a steaming cup of tea beside you, as you fall down the rabbit hole into the imaginative worlds of Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, and Sherlock Holmes . . .
Fire up your literary fancies and nibble your way through delicate sweets and savories with A Literary Afternoon Tea, which brings food from classic books to life with a teatime twist. Featuring fifty-five perfectly portioned recipes for an afternoon getaway, including custom homemade tea blends and beverages, you will have everything you need to plan an elaborate tea party. Cook up and enjoy:
Turkish Delight while sipping on the White Witch’s Hot Chocolate from The Chronicles of Narnia
Drink Me Tea with the Queen of Hearts’s Painted Rose Cupcakes from Alice in Wonderland
- recipe for a chocolate date fruitcake from A Thousand Perfect Notes, written by Alison Walsh
- a giveaway of Alison’s cookbook, A Literary Tea Party
- CAKE PHOTOS
- MY HEART BEING SO HAPPY
Chocolate Almond Fruitcake from A Thousand Perfect Notes
Guest post by Alison Walsh
I’ve been following Cait’s blog for years, so when I realised her first book and mine were coming out days apart, I shot her an email to see if she was interested in teaming up for a post. Since my book is a cookbook, I thought it would be fun to develop a recipe for one of the foods from her book and share it here on her blog. Not only did she say yes, but she had a food suggestion straight out of the gate: chocolate almond date fruitcake!
In A Thousand Perfect Notes, Beck and August indulge in rich slices of chocolatey, almondy date cake in a coffee shop on a weekday afternoon while playing hooky. It’s one of the few simple, joyful moments in the book (we all know Cait loves to make her darlings suffer! 😉). I wanted a chance to make that simple, sunny afternoon a reality in my own kitchen, so I knew I’d found the food I wanted to make!
I started by comparing LOTS of fruitcake recipes. I’d never made one before, so I wanted to get a good sense of what made a fruitcake a fruitcake…beyond, y’know, having fruit in it. After I was sure of the basics, I read the scene in the coffee shop again and thought about the best way to make this fruitcake a faithful recreation of the one in the book.
I went with chocolate chunks rather than chips so they’d stay a little melty in the middle for a good while after baking, and I kept the date chunks pretty big to be sure they kept their chewy texture. I ground the almonds up like you commonly would for a fruitcake, but I made sure to sprinkle chunks of whole almond on top for that satisfying crunch. I also added orange zest to lighten and brighten the flavors. Since the fillings are so rich, I made sure to stay away from too much sugar in the batter. I used less sugar than I normally would for a cake and made half of it brown sugar for extra depth.
The final product was a huge success at my house! The topping and fillings are just the right size, so you get distinct moments of chocolate, date, and almond without them getting lost in too much cake. The ground almond helps keep the cake itself moist, and there’s just enough orange zest for a bit of complexity. I’ve already made it four times—we can’t get enough of it!
1 cup flour
½ cup finely ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp almond extract
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chunks
1 cup loosely packed chopped dates*
2 tsp orange jest
3 tbsp chopped almonds, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F/176° In a small bowl, stir together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium speed until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the almond extract.
- Gradually fold in the flour mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate, dates, and orange zest. Transfer the mix to a greased 9×5 loaf pan and spread out until flat. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. At the 15-minute mark, sprinkle your chopped almonds on top of the batter and gently press them down a little (you want them to adhere to the batter but not submerge).
- When fully baked, allow the cake to rest in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
* You can buy pre-chopped dates, but I recommend buying whole pitted dates and chopping them yourself to achieve larger pieces. Cut each date in half lengthwise, then each half into 5 pieces.
Thanks so much for this recipe, Alison!
I literally haven’t stopped flailing about it (my family can attest) and I put my horrible baking skills to the test to make it too! Now mine…did not…turn out nearly as pretty as Alison’s. Which I blame a little bit on using mini chocolate chips instead of chocolate hunks so it was chocolate smoosh. Mine basically looks like the ugly rustic weird cousin.
I shall stick to writing tragic novels, not baking wow.
But, despite mine looking ugly, it was delicious. Everyone in my house RAVED about the flavours. Alison is a cake magician.
Seeing something from my bok come to life like this was just…ahh! It was so exciting! I shall geek out about it and never stop! Please definitely go check out Alison’s cookbook because she is a master.
Don’t forget A Thousand Perfect Notes is out in just TWO DAYS.
- USA only!
- 1 x copy of A Literary Tea Party cookbook