Thursday, 31 January 2019

Bunty’s Fruit Cake

Bunty’s daughter Maggie, has given me her mother’s recipe that she tells me was printed in the Daily Telegraph before WW2. Bunty was from Bristol and the family have been making this delicious fruit cake ever since! Like Maggie, if any of my followers have a family recipe they would like me to feature, please forward it on Messenger, I would be delighted to make and post it. What I loved about this cake was that by using the base, then altering a few ingredients, you can chose, chop and change the flavours. Just wonderful. Trust me, trust Bunty, who sadly died last week age 97.

Pre heat your fan over to 150C.  Lightly butter a 2 lb loaf tin and line with parchment, coming up over the long sides to help you lift it out. If you use a smaller, e.g. 1½lb tin, then you may need to increase the baking time as it will be deeper. 

Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl in the following order:

8 oz SR flour [or wholemeal with 2 tsp baking powder]
4 oz of any sugar - caster or brown
12 oz mixed fruits and nuts to you own taste
[eg currants, sultanas, apricots, cherries, prunes and nuts]
2 eggs
4 oz melted butter or sunflower oil
¼ teas mixed spice
¼ teas nutmeg
Bare teacupful of milk 
pinch salt
vanilla or almond extract

Notes: In the 1940s, they would have used whole milk, or buttermilk. Add extra spice if you wish. If using prunes, chop, but do not add until the end. A good for using up the half packets or tubs of fruit and nuts.

The original recipe told you to beat for 5 mins. Maggie tells me that with an electric mixer, beat for about 2 mins. If using wholemeal leave the batter for an extra 5 mins before placing in your tin and you may need a little more milk.

Place the mix into your prepared tin and bake for about an hour, maybe 5 mins more, until a fine skewer comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!

The cake is a great keeper, if wrapped in foil or in an airtight tin.

Note 2: I used caster sugar, sunflower oil, chopped apricots, chopped dates, cherries, sultanas, a little peel and some chopped toasted hazelnuts.

Thank you so much, Maggie, who lives in Devon now.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Vanilla Slices

Who remembers eating these as a child? Such a treat in the 50s and 60s [I am 70!], as I recall. Very simple to make and you can easily use clotted cream for the filling, or whipped double cream. You can use whatever jam you fancy, but I used Strawberry, as that is what I remember from my childhood.

Rough Puff Pastry. Pre heat your fan oven to about 200C. Lightly butter a baking sheet. Cut a piece of card to use as a template for the pastry. 2” x 3½ “

The same recipe as I use for so much, pasties, pies etc. Half fat to flour. The fat - half butter and half lard. Rubbed in not too finely ie with biggish lumps still showing. Bind with very cold water, just enough to bring it all together. Then a few light kneads, chill for half and hour and you are ready to roll. For sweet recipes like these delicious slices, I also add some icing sugar. You could also add a drop or two of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.

Roll our your pasty, not too thinly, into rectangles - about 2” x 3½”. You do need them all to be of the same size! Place your pastry rectangles on a baking sheet, brush with a little beaten egg and bake in a hot oven for about 20 mins. Don’t let them get too brown, you may need to turn the oven down for the last 5 mins. Cool on a wire rack.

Cover half of the pieces with your chosen jam. Whip the cream, add one drop of vanilla extract if you wish and cover the jam.

Make a glacé Icing with a little water and a drop of vanilla extract, mixed quite stiffly. Cover the pastry tops and then Enjoy!!!

Note: I also recall Mock Cream. I did try to re create that, to use, instead of fresh cream, but was not impressed with the results. Does anyone have a good foolproof recipe?

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Coffee and Almond Sandwich

When my friend Pam gave me this recipe I was not sure that the two flavours went together.  But never say die, I went ahead and baked it anyway. My gosh! I am so pleased I did. Camp coffee is great for baking and this cake is absolutely delicious.

You will need 2 x 7” loose bottom sponge tins, well buttered and the bases lined. Pre heart your fan oven to 150C

4 oz SR flour
1 teaspoonful baking powder
4 oz butter
4 oz caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon Camp Coffee
2 oz finely chopped almonds

In a medium bowl, place the flour, baking powder, sugar, softened butter and eggs and beat together, Then add the coffee and nuts. The mixture should be fairly soft, so you may need to add a tiny amount of milk.

Divide between the two tins and level off. I am a saddo and weigh them so they are equal. Bake for about 25 mins until form to the touch. Leave them in the tins for a short while then cool on a rack.

Meanwhile make the filling:

2 oz  chopped almonds, lightly toasted in a dry fry pan - but watch them!
3 oz softened butter
6 oz icing sugar
1 dessertspoonful Camp Coffee
a little warm water if needed

In a basin, beat the butter and add the icing sugar and Camp. It should be fairly thick, but spreadable. Add a little warm water if necessary. Divide roughly into two and fill the sponges.
Spread the remainder on top and sprinkle over the toasted almonds.

Note: I increased the quantity to make the larger cake as shown in the photo. Half as much again in 9inch tins. Plus added about 5 mins to the cooking time.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Girdle Cakes

Very simple, basic traditional baking. Made in minutes and eaten HOT, split and buttered. I have taken this recipe from the old Be-Ro baking booklet. My treasured tattered old copy is pre war. Do you know these booklets were first published in 1923?

I don’t have a Griddle so used a large dry fry pan. And also used a fluted cutter, as the sketch in the booklet suggested.

8 oz Self Raising flour
½ teaspoonful salt
1 oz currants [I used a little more]
2 oz butter [booklet used marg]
2 oz lard
Milk [or water - I used half and half]
I added a tablespoon of caster sugar, but the booklet did not inc it]

Rub the fats into the flour and salt. then add the fruit. Mix to a moderately stiff dough with the milk and water mix. Transfer to your floured work surface and lightly roll out to about a third of an inch thick, maybe a tad under. Cut into rounds. Bake on a hot Griddle.  When brown, turn over and repeat. I baked the above for about 7 or 8 minutes each side but turned the heat down after a short while.

Allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Split and serve immediately, slathered in Cornish butter!! Wow.

Note: The above will make about 16 little cakes. Easily halved for a light afternoon tea treat.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Fig and Date Bread

I am returning to the basic roots of baking, most especially where perhaps economical ingredients were used. This is not a singularly Cornish recipe but would have been made everywhere, very cheaply, well over a hundred years ago. This is not a bread in the accepted sense, but similar to a rich scone or soda bread, filled with fruit. Very simple and made in half an hour or so, to eat buttered and warm, This recipe comes from a very old Be Ro baking book. I was itching to add other flavours, but resisted, to bring it to you exactly as printed.

I was so surprised with the result. It was absolutely delicious, eaten warm. Very soft with a lovely flavour. Next time I will try it with soft light brown sugar.

For the quantity below, you need to place the “bread” in a 7 “ shallow sandwich tin. Pre heat your fan oven to 200C

8 oz self raising flour
½ teaspoonful salt
1 oz lard
1 oz sugar
2-3 oz chopped dates and figs
¼ pint whole milk

Rub the lard into the flour and salt, in a small mixing bowl. Add the sugar and fruit and mix to a dough with the milk. Turn onto your floured surface and knead into a smooth round. Place in the greased sandwich tin, brush with a little more milk and bake for 30 mins.

Slice and butter. Good old fashioned baking.

Note: Like scones, this needs to be eaten on the day, but freezes well, in slices, to pop in your microwave, coming out fresh baked, although it was not too bad next day. Yum

Note 2: I cannot see why you can’t use a cutter to make individual ones and cut down the baking times

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Cinnamon Banana Loaf

This cake was featured many moons ago in a newspaper as “cake of the week”. Of course, you all know I collect clippings and file them all away!!! What a saddo. Of course, if I didn’t do that I would not have the collection of recipes that I do have, to show you!

A very easy recipe, made in minutes. Please use very ripe bananas and you will need a med/small loaf tin - 1½ lbs, buttered, with the bottom lined. Bring the parchment up over the sides to help lift out. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C

6 oz SR flour
½ teaspoonful cinnamon
3 oz butter
2 oz caster sugar
1 generous tablespoonful golden syrup
2 small bananas [I large etc]
1 large egg, beaten

Place the flour and spice in a mixing bowl. Heat the butter and syrup in a small pan along with the sugar and gently heat, until the sugar has melted. Allow to cool. Mash the  bananas and mix this into the flour along with the melted mixture and the egg. Beat until well mixed and tip into your prepared tin.

Bake for approx 50 mins. Turn out onto a cooling rack and then enjoy! I drizzled over some plain icing and scattered a few chopped pistachios I had left over from a Xmas bake, but it is equally delicious left plain.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Fruit and Almond Tray Bake

You all know I love tray bakes. I also love anything with lovely gooey ground almonds! This ticks so many boxes for me. It is an old recipe a friend gave me many moons ago. Still going strong.

You will need a Swiss Roll tin about 11 x 7”, lightly buttered and line the base with parchment, leaving some hanging over.  Pre heat your fan oven to 170C

I have given my failsafe shortcrust pastry recipe many times, but quickly, 8 oz plain flour, 5 oz cold cubed butter. Blitz for a few seconds in a food processor. [or rub in - too much like hard work for me] Bind with a tablespoon of cold water and the yolk of an egg. Pulse for a few seconds until it comes together. Cover in cling film and chill for at least 10-15 mins. For sweet dishes add a tablespoon of caster, or salt and pepper and a little dried mustard for savoury. Or use all butter shortcrust from a supermarket.

6-7 oz shortcrust pastry
3 oz softened butter
3 oz caster sugar
1 large egg
3 oz currants
3 oz glace cherries, chopped
5 oz ground almonds
a couple of drops of almond extract

Roll out your pastry, fairly thinly and line the base and sides of your tin. Trim the edges and pop in the fridge again for a mo. [patch if necessary, the pastry is so forgiving, no one will know]

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then beat in the egg. Fold in the ground almonds and extract, then lastly the fruit.

Spread the fruity almond mix evenly over the pastry and smith out with a knife. Bake for about 40 mins until nicely browned. Cool in the tin for a while, but mark the bake into squares or slices. 

Will keep for a few days in an airtight container. Freezes well too.