This is one of those cakes that I tend to put in the category "plain cakes" which sounds a bit negative and unexciting but really isn't. It's just one of those simple cakes that are very easy to put together but even easier to eat. No layers, no icing, no decoration, just a straightforward one-tin bake.
I found the recipe when searching for inspiration for some leftover sour cream and discovered it in one of my Books for Cooks recipe books (compilations of recipes from the shop of the same name).
The cake itself is just a plain sponge, although sour cream is added to the usual ingredients, but the cake is well and truly brought to life by the layers of chocolatey, cinnamony nuts and raisins in the middle. No one flavour stands out; instead you have a lovely hint of the various ingredients mixed up in the slightly crunchy, slightly chewy layers. This is the sort of cake that is as perfect after dinner with ice cream as it is as an afternoon treat. P, who isn't keen on anything too sweet, really liked this one.
Cinnamon Swirl Sour Cream Cake
(adapted from Books for Cooks Favourite Recipes 7, 8 & 9)
For the mix
100g/3 1/2 oz walnuts or pecans
4 tbsp raisins
1tbsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
175g/6oz dark brown sugar
For the cake
250g/8oz plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
125g/4oz butter, softened
225g/7 1/2 oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
250ml/8 fl oz sour cream
1) Heat the oven to 180c/350f. Grease and line a 24cm/9 inch cake tin.
2) To make the spice mix, put the nuts and raisins in a blender and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cinnamon, cocoa and sugar.
3) Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each one.
4) Add one third of the flour to the mix and fold in then add and fold in one third of the sour cream. Alternate with the remaining ingredients until all mixed in.
5) Spread one third of the cake mix over the bottom of the cake tin then sprinkle with half the spice mix. Carefully add another third of the cake mix by dropping spoonfuls over the spice mix and carefully spreading it with the back of a spoon. Repeat with the remaining cake and spice mix, ending with a later of cake. Rap the tin on a hard surface a few times to remove any air bubbles.
6) Bake for 1 hour or until the cake has begun to come away from the sides of the tin and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before turning out.