This recipe is from Pani Stasia *, she and my mother were at school together. She baked wonderful cakes and everyone loved this soft cake with seedless green grapes on the top within a mound of lovely meringue.
Many years ago I jotted down the recipe and now I found it amongst my many hand written recipes.
I obviously had not written it down very well and in my first attempt, although the topping part worked very well , the bottom cake part was not as I remembered it. Part of the problem was some of the measurements were in spoons and I think my conversions did not work out that well. Also I remember that seedless grapes used to be very small, now they seem to be much bigger.
My next attempt was a disaster! I tried cutting the grapes in half (bad idea) and I adjusted the base ingredients – the base did not cook well at all this time – a big gloopy mess – straight to birds.
One of a pair of wood pigeons that come into the garden looking for cast off cake!
I decided to bake the cake base separately and add the topping later – I had a couple of goes and found that a Victoria sponge using two eggs was the best.
This method means you have 4 egg yolks left over (you can use these in many other recipe). The original recipe used the yolks in the base and the whites in the topping – sadly I could not recreate this.
- 100g butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100g self raising flour
- Grated rind of 1 lemon
- Grease a 22cm loose bottomed tall sided tin.
- Preheat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.
- Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy
- Add the eggs and lemon rind and whisk again.
- Fold in the plain flour.
- Place the mixture in the tin and bake for around 25 minutes.
- Leave to go cold before adding the topping.
- 225g seedless green grapes
- 4 egg whites
- 200g granulated sugar
- 2 sponge fingers – crushed
- Preheat the oven to GM2 – 150°C.
- Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff.
- Add the sugar and whisk again till stiff.
- Mix in the crushed sponge fingers
- Put half of the meringue mixture on top of the cake base.
- Place the grapes in a layer on top of the meringue.
- Put the rest of the meringue mixture on top of the grapes and smooth it down.
- Bake for 1 hour – if not dry enough – lower oven to GM1- 140°C and leave for another 30 minutes.
- Switch off the oven and leave cake in the oven.
- Once oven is cold take out the cake and leave to cool in the tin.
- Do not try to take it out of the tin until it is totally cold.
Queen Anne tea plates & Portmeirion – Crazy Daisy cake forks – Sophie Conran’s design from 2009.
Coffee set and plates – Greenway by Hostess Tableware – design by John Russell, 1960 – 1979.
- Pani translates as Madam, Lady or Mrs and is a polite form of address – it is like donna in Italian or saying Miss Mary in the Southern States of America.
- Stasia is the shortened form of the Polish name Stanisława. (The feminine form of Stanisław)
- St Stanisław is the patron saint of Kraków & Poland, he was a martyr, murdered by the Polish king Bolesław II the Bold in 1079 – a story which has much in common with St Thomas à Beckett and the English king Henry II in 1170.