After starts and stops, delays and complications, fruit cake baking was resumed last week. Finding merchants who could supply all the ingredients needed was the main tie-up. Abbot Robert and Bakery Manager, Jerry Reid, began with two small experimental batches to get used to the new oven. On their first attempt, the oven wouldn’t work. It turned out that was the result of a safety feature: the exhaust pipe had been blocked by a bird’s nest and the work of mud-daubers. Once they were cleaned out, the oven worked very well.
However, the first batch of cakes had to be baked in the Abbey’s kitchen oven. As you may know, fruit cake is traditionally baked at a low temperature for a long time–but it took a domestic over four hours to do the job. The next try in the new oven produced a correctly baked cake in one hour. This will be quite an advantage for future baking, since each cake has to then be treated with brandy and glazed; anything to speed up the process will help a small crew get the job done with a minimum of stress.
Monastery Bakery will be offering our traditional two-and-a-quarter pound round cake and will be introducing a one pound loaf cake.