Saturday, 28 April 2018

A Nice Useful Cake

Ok, so I'll be honest with you guys. When I started choosing vintage recipes for my final major project, I wanted to choose recipes that I hadn't heard of before, but also that looked enticing and, most importantly, yummy. Looking at the recipe, these cake seemed fairly ordinary, but I just couldn't resist making a cake who's title was its purpose, not its flavour. Now, the original recipe calls for candied peel and currants, but I'm not a big fan of candied peel, so I followed the instructions at the end of the recipe that went as follows: "The currants and candied peel may be omitted, and a little lemon or almond flavouring substituted for them: made in this manner, the cake will be found very good." And it was indeed a good cake! Granted, it is very large and a little denser than your modern day cake but served warm with a little cream, it was actually very nice, and not overpoweringly sweet. Not only this, but the chopped almonds provided a nice texture that you don't usually get in cakes.

Here is the original recipe that I was working with:

A Nice Useful Cake
Bare Necessities:
4oz/115g Butter
4oz/115g Sugar
1/2tsp Lemon Essence
1lb/450g Plain Flour
2tsp Baking Powder
3 Eggs
1cup/8fl.oz/250ml Milk
2oz/60g Chopped Almonds

1. Pre-heat the oven to 320F/160C.
2. Grease and line a cake tin.
3. Mix together all of the ingredients until fully combined and well mixed.
4. Pour the mixture into the tin.
5. Pop it in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
6. Slice up and enjoy!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Caraway Seed Cake

I should say now that I love caraway seeds. They have this inexplicable, somewhat medicinal taste, and I just love it baked into bread. I should also say that, until now, I regarded this as a purely savoury spice, so when I saw this recipe for a sweet cake flavoured with caraway seeds, I knew I had to try it. Right up until the cake went in the oven, I could smell the caraway seeds and I was convinced it wasn't going to work. But once it started cooking, the smell changed to what I can only describe as a sweet version of the original caraway smell. This cake has a really subtle, yet incredibly addictive taste to it and I had two slices before I'd even finished cleaning up!

Here's the original recipe I was working with:

Caraway Seed Cake
Bare Necessities:
8oz/225g Plain Flour
4oz/115g Butter
4oz/115g Sugar
2 Eggs
2tsp Caraway Seeds
1tsp Baking Powder
1tbsp Milk

1. Pre-heat the oven to 320F/160C.
2. Grease and line a cake tin.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar.
4. Gradually beat in the eggs and milk.
5. Stir in the flour, baking powder and caraway seeds until fully combined.
6. Pour the mixture into a tin and pop in the oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
7. Slice up and enjoy!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Banana Blanc Mange

Blanc Mange is basically Europe's answer to pudding and I love it. Not only that, but as I have proved in previous posts, I love banana, so this was an obvious recipe for me to do. I actually found this recipe from a recipe book that presumably came with a fridge-freezer many years ago, back when people didn't really know how to use such mod-cons. Most of the recipe book is filled with enough jellied meat recipes to make you feel sick, but this one was actually rather delicious. Note that once made, these should be eaten within two days. I apologise for the brown banana chunks in the photo of the finished blancmange, I forgot to take a picture of it until the following day!

Here is the original recipe I was working with:

Banana Blanc Mange (makes 4 desserts)
Bare Necessities:
3 Bananas
1oz/30g Corn Flour
1 Egg Yolk
1pint/2cups/500ml Milk
1oz/30g Sugar
1/2tsp Vanilla Essence

1. Pour the milk into a saucepan with the sugar and slowly bring to the boil.
2. Remove from the heat and stir in the cornflour, careful to remove any lumps.
3. Place back on the hob and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring continuously.
4. Take off the heat and let it cool for a couple minutes.
5. Chop the bananas into small chunks.
6. Stir an egg yolk into the milk mixture and then stir over a low heat for another 2 minutes.
7. Take off the heat and stir in the chopped bananas and the vanilla.
8. Pour into small pots or ramekins and leave to cool in the fridge.
9. Once chilled, serve and enjoy!

Monday, 19 March 2018

Austrian Lattice Pie

Don't ask me why it's called Austrian Lattice Pie and not Swiss Lattice Pie, or any other country for that matter, I have absolutely no idea. In my eyes, it is simply a raspberry pie and a yummy one at that! Now you will notice that my lattice work is rather messy and somewhat sparse, that is because I used a slightly too big pan and so was left a little short on the pastry front when it came time for the lattice. Serves me right for being too lazy to measure out the tin! One thing I like about this recipe is that it doesn't make the assumption that you're going to be making your own pastry because, whilst that is a really great thing to be able to do, who has the time?

Here is the original recipe I was working with:

Austrian Lattice Pie
Bare Necessities:
12oz/340g Frozen Raspberries
2oz/60g Caster Sugar
1/2oz/15g Butter
3/4tsp Cinnamon
1pack Shortcrust Pastry
2oz/60g Ground Almonds
1 Egg White
pinch Caster Sugar for finishing

1. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
2. Put the raspberries, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a saucepan and heat gently.
3. Roll out the pastry and gently place it in the tin, being sure to push it into all the little crevices and corners.
4. Cover the base evenly with the ground almonds.
5. Once the raspberry mixture is fully combined and the fruit is nice and soft, carefully pour it onto the ground almonds.
6. Use the remaining pastry to create a lattice design on the top of the pie.
7. Brush the lattice with the egg white and then sprinkle with sugar.
8. Pop in the oven for 30 minutes.
9. Once cooked, place on a cooling rack and allow to cool slightly.
10. Slice up and enjoy with a dollop of cream!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Egg-Free Honey Cake

As someone who grew up in a very Jewish community, I was used to having honey cake to celebrate Jewish New Year, so I was intrigued to find out what a Gentile take on this sweet dish would taste like. Well unsurprisingly, it tastes like honey. What did surprise me, though, was the ingredients. Not only does this have very little sugar in it, but it has absolutely no eggs! It is more like a loaf cake than a regular cake, but it was also very delicious! The original recipe says to add honey 'to taste', and I went for two and a half tablespoons, but feel free to adjust that to suit your personal preferences, but do be aware that this will probably affect the texture slightly.

Here's the original recipe that I was working with:

Egg-Free Honey Cake
Bare Necessities:
1/2cup/115g/4oz Sugar
1cup/250ml/8fl.oz Sour Cream
2cups/200g/8oz Flour
1/2tsp Baking Soda/Bicarbonate of Soda
2 1/2tbsp Honey

1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.
2. Grease and line a loaf tin.
3. Mix together the sugar, honey and sour cream.
4. Stir in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and beat until fully combined.
5. Pour the mixture into the tin and pop in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until the cake is golden-brown and cooked through.
6. Slice up and enjoy!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Small Gingerbread Cakes

Let me start by saying that, although these aren't as sweet as you might expect, they are incredibly moreish, and the keep surprisingly well. My mum liked them so much, in fact, that she put half of them in the freezer so that she could have them even when I'd gone back to uni! The eagle-eyed among you will notice that my measurements are twice what the original recipe called for. That's because I can't be dealing with half an egg, it's just too much of a faff. Also, I only made six of these, but I overfilled the muffin trays so I could easily have made eight. I'm not entirely sure of the purpose of the blanched almonds, but I rather like them!

Here's the recipe I was working with:

Small Gingerbread Cakes (makes 6-8)
Bare Necessities:
8oz/225g Plain Flour
2oz/55g Butter
2oz/55g Sugar
1tsp Ground Ginger
1/8tsp Mixed Spice
1 Egg
1tsp Baking Soda(Bicarbonate of Soda)
2tbsp Treacle
70ml Milk
6-8 Blanched Almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C/Gas Mark 4.
2. Lightly grease a muffin tin and place one blanched almond at the bottom of each slot.
3. Breadcrumb together the flour and bicarb with the butter.
4. Mix in the sugar and spices.
5. Beat in the treacle, egg and milk until fully combined.
6. Pour the mixture into the muffin tray.
7. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
8. Leave to cool and enjoy!

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Almond Puffs

So this is a bit of a strange one. Honestly, I had never heard of these before, and looking at the recipe, I had no idea what to expect. Not only this, but there were no pictures, so I had no idea if they were supposed to do what they seemed to be doing. I did make them twice though because I overcooked the first batch so I'm fairly confident now. They're essentially mini Yorkshire Puddings in appearance, but macarons in taste. If you can imagine that. Either way, they're incredibly moreish, so you should give them a go!

Here is the recipe I was working with:

Almond Puffs
Bare Necessities:
2tbsp Plain Flour
2oz/58g Butter
2oz/58g Sugar
2oz/58g Ground Almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C/Gas Mark 4
2. Melt the butter.
3. Mix together the butter with the flour, sugar and ground almonds until fully combined.
4. Place a small amount into each mini muffin slot and press down slightly.
5. Pop in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the puffs are a light golden colour.
6. Leave the puffs to cool in the tin.
7. Transfer them to a plate and enjoy!