Almond Cake

  • The almond tree originated in Asia and it is thought that almonds were one of the earliest domesticated fruit trees.
  • Because of traders moving on the Silk Road, almond trees, were established in the Middle East and Mediterranean areas.
  • By 1,000 BC they were grown in Greece and later in Rome, where almonds were referred to as nut Graeca  – Greek nut.
  • By 716AD almond trees were growing in France
  • *
  • Did you know that almonds are not a true nut but the seed part of a stone fruit, a drupe, similar to apricots, peaches and plums?
  • *
  • Almond  is  Prunus amygdalus
  • The English word almond comes from the old French almando.
  • The Italian word is mandorle.
  • The Polish is migdał(singular) migdały (plural).
  • *
  • Although this cake is simple, it is truly delicious.

Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs – separated
  • ½ teaspoon almond essence
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 40g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Handful of flaked almonds

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 -180°C.
  • Use a cake liner to line a 20 cm diameter cake tin.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolks and almond essence and whisk till fluffy again.
  • Mix the ground almonds, flour and baking powder together.
  • Fold this mixture into the creamed mixture.
  • Whisk the egg whites till they are stiff.
  • Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture.
  • Spoon the cake mixture into the lined cake tin.
  • Smooth the top down.
  • Sprinkle the flaked almonds on the top.
  • Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

 

Keks – Carrot Fruit &Nut

This is a variation on the courgette keks – light fruit cake –  I posted a couple of years ago.

Ingredients – Cake

  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar
  • 150g of light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 100g of raisins
  • 100g of currants
  • 100g dried apricots chopped fine
  • 80g of roasted and roughly chopped hazelnuts or almonds
  • 1 large coarse grated carrot
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml of sunflower oil

Ingredients – Lemon Icing

  • Fine grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 150g of icing sugar

Method – Cake

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 180°C
  • I used a continental style long loaf tin, greased it  and used a single sheet of grease proof paper  to line the long sides and the base.
  • Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugars and cinnamon, making sure that any lumps in the brown sugar are all pressed out.
  • Mix together the raisin, currants, nuts and the carrot.
  • Lightly whisk the eggs and oil together.
  • Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix thoroughly together with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the carrot and fruit and nut mixture and mix well in.
  • Place the cake mixture into the tin and smooth the top.
  • Bake for 50 – 55 minutes – check after 40 minutes and cover the top with greaseproof or foil if browning too much before it is baked through.
  • Leave to cool before icing.

Method – Icing

  • Place the icing sugar in a bowl and add the grated lemon zest.
  • Mix in the lemon juice until you have a thick icing.
  • You might have to adjust the thickness with  more lemon juice (or water) or with icing sugar.
  • Put the icing on the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides.

Note

  • Keep in an airtight container.
  • Keep in the container for at least a day before serving.

Orange Drizzle Cake

  • My lemon drizzle cake is very popular and I make it often.
  • I decided to make an orange version and was very pleased with the result.

Ingredients – Cake

  • 175g butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Juice of ½ orange
  • 175g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder

Ingredients – Drizzle

  • Juice of ½ orange
  • 80g caster sugar

Method

  • Grease and line a large (2lb) loaf tin – or use a ready bought liner.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180oC
  • Cream the butter and sugar till soft and fluffy
  • Add the orange zest and mix again.
  • Add the eggs, 1 by 1, and mix well.
  • Add the orange juice and mix well.
  • Mix the flour with the baking powder.
  • Fold in the flour with a metal spoon.
  • Put the mixture into the loaf tin and gently level the top.
  • Bake for around 45-50 minutes – check after 40 minutes and cover the top with greaseproof paper if needed to prevent the top burning.
  • Leave to cool slightly in the tin and then remove and place on a cake rack and allow to cool a little more.
  • *
  • Prepare the drizzle by mixing the sugar and orange juice until it dissolves.
  • Remove the greaseproof paper or liner and place the cake onto a plate (a long rectangular one with a lip around the side is the best ) so that the base is flat and excess drizzle does not run off.
  • Prick the top of the cake with a skewer.
  • Gently spoon all the drizzle over the top of the cake.

Save

Burleigh Blue Mist tea plate- 1930s

Tort Melba – Fat Free Sponge

  • This tort – layer cake – mimics  a pêche melbapeach melba dessert .
  • It is a recipe for a fat free sponge cake, sandwiched with a filling made from yoghurt cheese or cream cheese and puréed tinned peaches plus a thick raspberry sauce.
  • I used an English quick style version of the sponge cake.

Ingredients -Fat Free sponge

  • 4 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder

Method – Fat Free sponge

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C
  • Grease and line the base of  two 18cm diameter baking tins.
  • In a bowl whisk the eggs and caster sugar until they are pale and creamy.
  • Sift the flour and the baking powder together.
  • Gently fold in the flour.
  • Pour the mixture into the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.
  • Leave to cool completely.

Ingredients -Filling

  • Tin of peaches
  • 200g of yoghurt cheese or cream cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons of icing sugar

Method – Filling

  • Drain the peaches from the juice/syrup.
  • Save the juice.
  • Chop the peaches and then purée them.
  • Mix together the yoghurt cheese and the puréed peaches.
  • Add the sugar – do not make it too sweet.

Ingredients – Raspberry Sauce

  • 100g of raspberry jam
  • 50ml of water

Method – Raspberry Sauce

  • Put the jam and water into a small saucepan.
  • Heat gently and stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Heat until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  • Leave to cool.

Assembling the cake

  • Place one of the cakes onto a serving plate or stand.
  • Prick the cake with a wooden skewer.
  • Sprinkle half the peach juice over the cake.
  • *
  • Spread half the raspberry sauce over the cake.
  • Spread the peach filling on the cake. (You might not need all of it)
  • Drizzle the rest of the raspberry sauce on the filling.
  • *
  • Prick the other cake with a wooden skewer.
  • Place the second cake on top.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the peach juice over the cake.
  • *
  • Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Note

  • There is more than enough filling with this size cake.
  • You might try using some to slightly cover the sides of the cake as well.
  • This modern spreading of the icing is called “semi-naked”.

Apricot Keks

  • I made a lovely apricot and prune keks – fruit cake – several months ago.
  • I still had a lot of dried apricots so decided to make this just with apricots.
  • This time I made it in a 21 centimetre square tin
  • It too was delicious.
  • You have to start this cake the night before.

    Ingredients

    • 385g dried apricots
    • 100ml hot Earl Grey tea
    • 100ml sherry
    • *
    • 115g currants
    • 115g sultanas
    • 115g raisins
    • 50g mixed peel
    • *
    • 150g soft brown sugar
    • 150g butter
    • 2 eggs
    • *
    • 185g plain flour
    • 2 teaspoons of mixed spice

    Method

    • Chop the apricots into small pieces.
    • Place them into a bowl and pour the hot tea over them.
    • Leave until this is cold.
    • Add the sherry, cover and leave overnight.
    • *
    • Add the other dried fruits to the soaked apricots and mix well.
    • *
    • Grease and line all sides of a 21 cm square tin
    • Pre-heat the oven to GM 1- 140°C
    • Mix the flour with the mixed spices.
    • Cream the sugar and butter till well blended.
    • Add the eggs and mix well together.
    • Fold in the flour mixture.
    • Add the dried fruits and mix well together.
    • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth down the top.
    • Bake for  3 – 3¼ hours.
    • Leave to cool in the tin.

Note

You can use a 24cm tin – and bake for 2 – 2¼ hours.

Placek with Prunes – 2

  • I have an earlier post –  prune placek, which is quite different from this one.
  • This placek – flat cake- has a filling of prunes.
  •  The pastry used is a variation on my Polish  kruche ciasto – shortcrust pastry.
  • Prunes often feature in Wigilia – Christmas Eve dishes.
  • A prune filling like this is used in a tart baked in Belgium and eaten on Ash Wednesday. (17 February in 2021)

Ingredients – Pastry

  • 225g plain flour
  • 110g butter
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons of water
  • *
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar to sprinkle

Ingredients – Filling

  • 300g of prunes – stoned
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon – grated rind and juice

Method – Filling

This filling needs to be cold – so make this first.

  • Put the prune, cinnamon stick and rosemary in a large bowl.
  • Cover these with boiling water.
  • Leave overnight.
  • *
  • Remove the cinnamon stick and rosemary.
  • Put the prunes and liquid  into a  pan.
  • Add the lemon rind and juice.
  • Heat gently  and stir occasionally until the prunes are soft and the water is adsorbed.
  • Use a stick blender to turn the prunes into a pulp.
  • You might have to heat gently again to make sure the pulp is thick.
  • Leave to go completely cold.

Method – Pastry

  • A rich pastry is made in the traditional rubbed in method with the ingredients listed above.
  • Chill the pastry for around 30 minutes.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C.
  • Grease and line a shallow tray 21cm x 26cm.
  • Divide the pastry into two.
  • Roll out one piece to line the bottom of the tin.
  • Spread the filling evenly over the pastry – not quite to the edges.
  • Roll the second piece of pastry out and use to cover the filling.
  • Press the edges down to seal.
  • Make some diagonal slashes across the top.
  • Bake for around 30 minutes until golden.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the caster sugar.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
  • Cut into squares when cold.

Royal Doulton – Counterpoint tea plates – 1973-1987

Plum Bread

This is an old English recipe which could easily be a keks recipe in Poland.

  • It can be called a tea bread as the dried fruits are soaked in tea.
  • Why is it called plum bread when there are no plums?
  • In England in the past, plum referred to all the different dried fruits.
  • The usage of the word plum to mean dried fruits has dropped out of usage.

Ingredients

  • 450g mix of currants, sultanas and raisins
  • 200ml of hot, strong Earl Grey tea
  • 170g soft brown sugar
  • 25g melted butter
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder

Method

  • Put the dried fruit and sugar into a bowl.
  • Pour the tea over them and stir.
  • Leave overnight.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.
  • Line a large loaf tin or use a cake liner.
  • Mix the flour with the baking powder.
  • Mix the flour mixture into the dried fruit mixture.
  • Stir in the melted butter.
  • Spoon into the tin and smooth the top.
  • Bake for 60 minutes – check after 50 minutes and cover with greaseproof  paper if necessary to prevent burning.
  • Leave to cool in the tin on a wire cake rack.

Served on Queen Anne, bone china tea plates

Spiced Date Cake

  • Dates are lovely in cakes, they have a rich sweetness.
  • This is a very easy cake to make – you just have to start it the night before.
  • The way the dates are cooked first is similar to the method in my mother’s date slices.

Ingredients

  • 175g of pitted dates
  • Fine grated rind of 1 orange
  • 3 tablespoons of boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons of orange juice
  • *
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 175g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2½ teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger

Method

  • Chop the dates into small pieces.
  • Place them in a bowl with the grated orange rind.
  • Add the boiling water and the orange juice.
  • Leave overnight.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 3 – 160°C.
  • Use a cake liner in a deep 20cm cake tin.
  • Cream the sugar and butter.
  • Add the eggs and continue to mix.
  • Mix in the soaked dates.
  • Mix the flour well with the baking powder, mixed spice and ground.
  • Fold the flour mixture into the cake mixture.
  • Spoon into the cake mixture into the baking tin.
  • Bake for 60-65 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.

 

 

Served on Tea plates – Burleigh Ware – Burgess & Leigh Ltd – Blue Mist from the 1930s

 

Apricot & Prune Fruit Cake

I have been going through my recipe cuttings and came across this one, which I have been meaning to make for ages as I wanted to try a fruit cake made with either dried apricots or prunes and this has both!

This could easily be described as a keks in Polish.

It is a delicious and moist cake, which can be eaten straight away – so could be a very late bake for Christmas!

The recipe was for a very large round cake but I thought a square would be better for cutting up and so I scaled down the ingredients and made it in a 24 centimetre square tin.

You have to start this cake the night before.

Ingredients

  • 120g dried apricots
  • 165g stoned prunes
  • 100ml hot Earl Grey tea
  • 100ml sherry
  • *
  • 115g currants
  • 115g sultanas
  • 115g raisins
  • 50g mixed peel
  • *
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • *
  • 185g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of mixed spice

Method

  • Chop the apricots and prunes into small pieces.
  • Place them into a bowl and pour the hot tea over them.
  • Leave until this is cold.
  • Add the sherry, cover and leave overnight.
  • *
  • Add the other dried fruits to the soaked fruits and mix well.
  • *
  • Grease and line all sides of a 24 cm square tin
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 1- 140°C
  • Mix the flour with the mixed spices.
  • Cream the sugar and butter till well blended.
  • Add the eggs and mix well together.
  • Fold in the flour mixture.
  • Add the dried fruits and mix well together.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth down the top.
  • Bake for 2 – 2¼ hours.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.

 

 

Tea set by Spencer Stevenson from the mid 20th Century

Note

Yesterday I baked this for the second time in a 21 centimetre square tin – this needed 3 – 3 ¼ hours.

Raspberry Ripple Icing

This is a recipe for a large sponge cake, sandwiched and iced with an icing made from yoghurt cheese or cream cheese and a thick raspberry sauce.

The sides are not fully covered with the icing – this modern way is called “semi-naked”.

Sponge Cake

  • Bake two  creamed sponge cakes –
  • Using 4 eggs and equal weights of butter, caster sugar and self raising flour –  baked in 2 x 21 cm anodised baking tins.
  • Leave to go cold completely.

Ingredients – Icing

  • 350g yoghurt cheese or cream cheese
  • 150g icing sugar

Method – Icing

  • Add the icing sugar bit by bit until you get the desired sweetness.
  • This does not want to be too sweet.
  • You might not need all the sugar.

Ingredients – Sauce

  • 150g of raspberry jam
  • 75ml of water

Method – Sauce

  • Put the jam and water into a small saucepan.
  • Heat gently and stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Heat until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  • Leave to cool.

Assembling the cake

  • Place one of the cakes onto the serving plate or stand.
  • Spread around a third of the icing on the cake.
  • Drizzle around half of the sauce on the icing.
  • Use a wooden BBQ skewer to make the ripple effect.
  • Place the second cake on top of the icing.
  • Use the rest of the icing to cover the top of the cake and part cover the sides.
  • Drizzle on the rest of the sauce.
  • Repeat using a wooden BBQ skewer to make the ripple effect.
  • Keep the sauce to just the top of the cake.

 

 

Tea set is by Spencer Stevenson Co Ltd, who manufactured in England  between 1948 and 1960.  The design name is not known.