Friday, 28 April 2017

BURNT BUTTER CAKE with Sultanas.

This scrumptious unusual cake recipe was given to me by a cousin in the US. You do need to start the day before, or in the morning to make in the afternoon. The nutty smell of the butter as it is burning is just amazing. But you must be careful and you must not stop stirring!

In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, place 6 oz unsalted butter. Melt on a medium heat until it starts to froth up, stirring continuously. Keep stirring for at least another 5 minutes, still on medium heat until it is nicely brown and smells divinely nutty. [see photo on my Blog]  Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool, then place in your fridge until it sets.  Bring back to room temperature when you are ready to start. It is so soft and a beautiful colour. See pic on my Blog.
It is very easy, if you follow the instructions, but too hot and it will go black, ditto if you stop stirring. 

Pre heat your fan oven to 160C and generously butter a 1lb loaf tin, I like to place a small parchment strip through the centre, hanging over the side to help lift it out]

5 oz caster sugar
3 medium eggs
6 oz plain flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons whole milk or buttermilk - you know I used buttermilk!
1 scant teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
4 - 6 oz sultanas

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and add the eggs one at a time, along with a teaspoonful of the flour.  Add the flour and BP, along with the milk and vanilla, then beat well. Add the fruit, then tip into your prepared loaf tin. Bake for about 50 - 60 mins, but keep an eye on the cake and if it browns too much, turn the oven down a tad before the end.

Cool in the tin for about ten mins before transferring to a rack. Dust generously with icing sugar before tucking in, if you wish. The texture of this delicious cake is very soft and I guarantee you will love it! I took the above to a bridge afternoon and it disappeared in seconds, everyone loved it and wondered what the flavour was!

Burnt butter does make a wonderfully light, flavourful cake and this base recipe [minus the sultanas] can be used on its own, or with other variations, the choices are many! 


Monday, 24 April 2017


Just the most delicious simple treat, not cake, nor biscuit… a bit in between! A doddle to make too. If you wish you can use bought [all butter] shortcrust pastry, making it a complete doddle.

Line a Swiss Roll tin - 9” x 13”,  [as thin as possible] with shortcrust pastry, but don't go up the sides. [half butter to 8 oz plain flour, bind with an egg yolk and a tablespoon cold water. Add an oz of caster sugar too, if you wish] Chill in the fridge for ten minutes before using. The original old recipe does not pre bake the pastry but the horrors of soggy bottoms force me to bake blind for ten mins at 190C. I lightly prick the base with a fork as well. Cool while you make the topping. I also mix the cherries with cranberries for variety - plus I needed to use up a packet!


4 oz butter
1 beaten egg
3 oz chopped walnuts or pecans
3oz chopped sultanas
4 oz caster sugar
3 oz ground almonds 
3 oz chopped cherries
1 oz chopped dried cranberries 
vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Icing sugar to sprinkle over

Pre heat your fan oven to 190C. 

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the egg. Fold in the ground almonds, then add the fruits, nuts and vanilla and mix well. Spread the mixture evenly over the pastry base and bake until nicely light brown - about 18-20. Allow to cool, dust with the icing sugar and cut into slices. 

Brilliant, tasty and so easy. Makes approx 24 slices. More pics on my Blog

You can use a slightly smaller tin to get a thicker slice, if you wish. Adapted from the ladies of the WI, in the 60s.

Friday, 21 April 2017


I have recently come across a very old cookery book, entitled Modern Cookery and it is dated 1917. It is full of wonderful old recipes and this is the first of many that I will eventually make, lots reminiscent of a bygone age. The Slab Cake is vaguely similar to heavy cake, but quite different in as much it contains eggs and a raising agent. I am sure many will recognise this cake as something their grandmothers would have made. When I saw it in the old 1917 book I could not wait to try it. I tried to put myself in their shoes and just use the ingredients they specified. I chopped the raisins, used whole milk and also used granulated sugar.

A fairly deep square or oblong tin, well buttered. Pre heat your fan oven to 170C

1¼ lb plain flour
¼ lb lard
¼ lb butter
6 oz raisins
6 oz currants
8 oz granulated sugar
1 heaped dessertspoon baking powder
2 eggs
½ teacup milk [this would have been whole or buttermilk]

Note: I used a cups measure but added an extra large splash as the dough was still pretty stiff.

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, lard and sugar to a very soft cream. Add the eggs and beat briskly for 5 minutes. [that is a long time!! With a modern electric mixer I did it for about half the time]. Now add the stoned chopped raisins, and the currants. Then gradually add the flour, beating until smooth. It is very stiff at this point.  Mix the baking powder with the milk then stir this into the dough. Stir into your prepared square tin. I used an oblong tin 13 x 8 x 2 inches

Bake for about 45 mins. I turned the oven down after half an hour to 160C

Cool in the tin for a while then transfer to a rack. Cut into squares when cold.
[I used two racks to flip it out and over.]

Just wonderful. As I often do, I bake on a Friday morning to take to afternoon Bridge where, without exception, everyone loved it and it disappeared in seconds.