Half Size – Mama’s Never too Late Christmas Cake

  • Because of not being able to see many friends or family these last 3 years, I have not made an English style Christmas Cake for ages.
  • I have just been making one for my friend who is about to celebrate a significant birthday and loves fruit cake.
  • I found that the usual amount was quite a lot and I had forgotten how hard it was to mix it all up.
  • I thought that next time I would just make a half sized one.
  • Rather than halve the amounts ‘on the hoof’  I thought I would write this up with the half sized amount.
  • Decided it was better to do this now whilst things are fresh in my mind.
  • Of course I will not have the timings for baking but I can give estimates and check these later when I make this size of  cake.
  • It is a very moist cake and therefore it will only keep for about 2 months.

  • *
  • However if you want to add marzipan & icing then you should make it about 2- 3 weeks in advance, to give time for this to be done.

Ingredients

  • 450g mixture of currants, raisins & sultanas
  • 100g chopped mixed peel
  • 100g glacé cherries cut in half
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon & 1 orange
  • 1 medium cooking apple, peeled and coarse grated
  • 100g fine grated carrots
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 60 ml strong cold tea (I use a scented one like Earl Grey)
  • *
  • 175 g Butter
  • 175 g soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of black treacle
  • 3 large eggs – beaten
  • *
  • 200g plain flour – sieved
  • 1/4 level teaspoon salt
  • 3 level teaspoons mixed spice
  • ½ level teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼  grated nutmeg
  • ½ tablespoon cocoa  – yes cocoa! – sieved
  • 1 tablespoon ground almonds 

Method

  • Put all the fruit, rinds, carrots, rum & tea into large bowl,  mix and leave for 15 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 2 – 150oC.
  • Grease and line the cake tin – 20cm or 18cm square.
  • In another  large bowl, cream the margarine and sugar, beat in the treacle and eggs.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together & fold them in using a large metal spoon.
  • Fold in the fruit mix using a large metal spoon
  • *
  • Put all the cake mixture into the tin to fill the shape and smooth the top.
  • 20 cm square – try 1hr 30mins
  • 18 cm square  -try 1hr 15 mins 
  • The above are guides as it does depend on your oven – you need to check earlier.
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin.
  • *
  • Wrap in several layers of foil to store.

Decorating the cake

  • It depends on who is coming and whether there are  lots of marzipan & icing lovers on how much I decorate the cake.
  • *
  • Sometimes I just dust the top with icing sugar.
  • See the full sized recipe for more details.
  • Cut down the amounts to suit the cake size.

Apple Mincemeat Crumble Squares

  • This is my 525 post – Thank you everyone for reading them.
  • This is a quicker alternative to making individual little mince pies.
  • There is a buttery layer of shortcrust pastry at the bottom.
  • A crumble mixture on the top.
  • In between a layer of Apple mincemeat. 
  • Or use good quality mincemeat with a cooked cooking apple added but no extra sugar.

Ingredients – Pastry

  • 150g plain flour  –  
  • 75g butter 
  • 1-2 tablespoons of icing sugar (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Juice of 1 lemon (and maybe 1 tablespoon of cold water)

Method  – Pastry

  • Rub the butter into the flour to make “breadcrumbs”.
  • Mix in the icing sugar.
  • First with a knife and then with your fingertips mix in the yolk & lemon juice (and  maybe a tablespoon of cold water.)
  • You are aiming to get a dough which is not wet.
  • Rest for about 20 minutes.

Ingredients  – Crumble

  • 90g plain flour
  • 45g butter
  • 45g granulated sugar

Method – Crumble

  • Rub the butter into the flour until you have breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar.

Method – Overall

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM6 – 200°C
  • Grease and line with 1 piece of baking paper 2 long sides and the base of a 26 x 21 cm tin.
  • Roll out the pastry into a  thin rectangle that fits the base of the tin.
  • Spread the mincemeat over the pastry.
  • Sprinkle the crumble mix over the top.
  • Use a fork to ‘rough up’ the top.
  • Bake for around 25 – 30 minutes.
  • *
  • Cut into squares when cool.

Banana Bread

  • This is not a Polish recipe and my mother would not have made this cake, especially as my father did not like bananas.
  • But looking online and on Instagram I find that bananas are used in many new recipes from Poland.
  • Banana bread recipes originated in the USA in the early 1930s.
  • They tended to be made in bread or loaf tins but I have found a flatter rectangular tin gives better results.
  • For the best results the bananas have to be as ripe as possible – very black spotted skins and ‘squidgy’ flesh.
  • I have adapted an old recipe of mine by using dried cranberries and am very pleased with the contrast between the bananas and the cranberries.
  • I used a packet of cranberries which was 1`70g and made the dried fruit up to 250g with sultanas – you can adjust these amounts – but I found these worked well.

Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 110g butter
  • 150g of granulated sugar
  • 170g dried cranberries
  • 80g sultanas
  • 450g – mashed ripe banana flesh
  • 2 eggs – beaten

Method

  • Grease and line 32 x 22cm baking tin.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  • Rub in the butter till the mixture is like breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar, cranberries and sultanas.
  • Mix this with the eggs and mashed bananas till uniform.
  • Spoon into the tin and level.
  • Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.
Served on Bramble Rose by Duchess

Sponge Cake with Peaches

  • This cake is loosely based on one I made with pears.
  • However rather than use fresh peaches – I used tinned peaches.
  • My peaches were in syrup – but one in juice should also be fine (but not tested).
  • This sponge is made with sunflower oil and is very easy to make.

Ingredients

  • Tin of peaches – drained
  • *
  • 230g of plain flour
  • ½ tablespoon of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 125ml of sunflower oil
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • *
  • Icing Sugar to dredge – optional

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to GM4 – 180°C.
  • Use a 22cm loose bottom tin with a cake liner – (like a huge bun case).
  • Chop the peaches into small chunks.
  • Leave whilst you prepare the cake mixture.
    *
  • In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In another bowl whisk the oil, sugar, vanilla extract and the eggs until they are thoroughly mixed.
  • Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture and mix thoroughly.
  • Place half the cake batter into the cooking tin.
  • Place half the peaches on top of the cake batter.
  • Cover with the rest of the cake batter.
  • Place the rest of the peaches evenly over the surface of the cake.
  • Bake for 60 – 65 minutes – cover and maybe another another 10 minutes if not done.
  • Leave to cool in the tin before turning it out.
  • *
  • Dredge with icing sugar when serving – optional.
  • Served on Royal Doulton – Sonnet  and Duchess – Bramble Rose tea plates
  • *
  • I tried this out also in a rectangular tin – 26 x 21cms.
  • The batter was poured into the tin and the peaches all put on the top.
  • This took 40 – 45 minutes to cook – check after 35 minutes and cover with baking paper if necessary.

Coffee Tort

  • I wanted to make a coffee tort using strong ground coffee rather than instant.
  • I think my mother used Camp Coffee – concentrated syrup flavoured with coffee and chicory.
  • It was first produced in 1876 by S. Paterson & Sons Ltd in Glasgow.
  • Camp Coffee is still made today and used mainly in home baking.
  • I made two sponge cakes with the method of weighing the eggs in their shells and then weighing the same amounts of butter, caster sugar and plain flour.
  • I made a 2 egg  version but you can easily make a bigger cake and adjust the ingredients and cake tin sizes.
  • You can make more butter cream to cover the sides.

Ingredients – Cake

  • 2 eggs
  • Equal weights of – 
  • -Butter
  • -Caster sugar
  • -Plain flour
  • 2½ teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of strong coffee
  • *
  • 125ml strong coffee & 2 tablespoons of sugar – mixed so the sugar dissolves
  • * you can use a larger volume of coffee- say 180ml or even 250ml – adjust the sugar

Method – Cake

  • Line the bases of 2 x 18cm diameter sandwich tins.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.
  • Mix the flour with the baking powder.
  • Cream the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the coffee.
  • Beat in the eggs – one by one.
  • Fold in the flour.
  • Divide the mixture between the two tins.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 mins.
  • Leave to cool in the tins on a baking rack.

Ingredients –  Butter Cream

  • 100g butter
  • 200g icing sugar – more may be needed
  • 3 tablespoons strong coffee

Method – Butter Cream

  • Cream the butter with half of the icing sugar.
  • Mix in and cream the coffee.
  • Add the rest of the icing sugar, bit by bit until you have the consistency you require. 

Assembling the tort

  • Place one of the two cakes on a flat cake plate.
  • Use half the coffee and sugar mixture and spoon it over the cake.
  • Spread half the butter cream over the cake.
  • Put the second cake over the butter cream.
  • Use the rest of the coffee and sugar mixture over the top.
  • Spread the rest of the butter cream over the top.
  • Using a pointed spatula, make a pattern in the butter cream.
  • Vintage cake stand on a central chrome/steel foot
  • Tea plate – Crown bone china

Pineapple & Coconut Cake

  • I came across this recipe ages ago but have only just had a chance to make it.
  • The original recipe used a small tin of pineapples, which I have not seen for a while.
  • I used part of a larger tin, which meant I had pineapples left to just eat or use in another dish.
  • The original recipe was baked in a loaf tin, which would have made it a keks.
  • However I think it is best in a flat rectangular tin – so maybe this is a placek!

Ingredients

  • 150g plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoons of baking powder
  • 110g butter
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • 50g & 1 tablespoon of desiccated coconut
  • 2 eggs – beaten
  • 120g tinned pineapples – drained and chopped 
  • 75g sultanas or raisins
  • *
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of pineapple juice

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM5 – 190°C.
  • Drain the pineapples, reserve the juice.
  • Weigh out the 120g of pineapples and chop these up into small pieces.
  • Grease and line a 26 x 16cm baking tin.
  • Mix together the flour and the baking powder.
  • Rub in the butter till the mixture is like breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar and the 50g of coconut.
  • Mix in the eggs.
  • Mix in the pineapples.
  • Mix in the sultanas.
  • Put the cake mixture into the tin and smooth the top.
  • Scatter the tablespoon of coconut over the top.
  • Bake for 25-30minutes.
  • *
  • Mix the 2 tablespoons of sugar and pineapple juice together.
  • *
  • Spoon the juice mixture evenly over the top of the cake as soon as you get it out of the oven.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Royal Doulton Carnation tea plate

Courgette Cake – Version 2

  • I wanted to bake a courgette cake as I have made before but found I had spelt flour to use up soon and dried cranberries.
  • Also I did not have any hazelnuts.
  • So I made a variation of this well loved cake.
  • It would be called a keks in Polish – a light fruit loaf.

Ingredients – Cake

  • 150g spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar
  • 150g of light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 150g of sultanas
  • 150g of dried cranberries
  • 100g of finely cut chopped walnuts
  • 1 medium size courgette coarse grated
  • 3 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, salt, sugars and cinnamon, making sure that any lumps in the brown sugar are all pressed out.
  • Mix together the sultanas, dried courgettes, nuts and the courgette.
  • 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 courgette 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.

No Bake Chocolate Cake

  • My mother would often make this and I liked to help as it was easy – there was no baking required.
  • She would use plain biscuits such as:  Morning Coffee, Petit Beurre or Rich Tea.
  • These are called herbatniki – (biscuits to go with a drink of tea) – in Poland.
  • The biscuits were roughly crushed using a potato masher – they do not want to be too small.
  • Chocolate, butter and sugar are melted together and the biscuits are added.
  • My mother would press this into a square or rectangular tin, which was well buttered and lined.
  • This was then easy top cut up into small cubes or rectangles.
  • You can make make this in a small (15 cm) circular, loose bottomed tin and pour a chocolate glaze or icing over this.
  • With the given proportions it is easy to double-up etc to make a large cake or a two tiered cake.
  • *
  • I had always thought of this as a Polish recipe but have read recently that the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge had a similar one as one of their wedding cakes.
  • Also I have read that Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II enjoys this cake too.

Ingredients

  • 180g biscuits
  • 90g butter
  • 180g dark and milk chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons of cold water.

Method

  • Butter and line a small rectangle 27 x 18 cm tin.
  • Crush half of the biscuits finely.
  • Roughly crush the other half of the biscuits.
  • Melt the chocolate in a bowl over some boiling water.
  • Add the butter and mix.
  • Add the water and mix
  • Mix  in the biscuits till they are all coated.
  • Press into the prepared and flatten the top with a wooden spoon.
  • Leave in a cool place or refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Crown Devon – Du Barry Cake Stand – 1930s.

Coconut Meringue Cake

  • As I  said in my coconut macaroons recipe, my mother did not use coconut in her baking.
  • This is an English recipe that I have made for years.
  • Egg yolks are used in the cake base and whites in the topping.
  • The egg whites are whisked till stiff but then the sugar and coconut are just folded in.

Ingredients

  • BASE
  • 75g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2-3 drops vanilla essence
  • TOPPING
  • 2 egg whites
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g desiccated coconut

Method

  • Grease and line a 26 x 20cm baking tin.
  • Preheat the oven to GM3 – 160°C.
  • Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy
  • Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla essence and milk.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  • Fold the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.
  • Spread this over the base of the tin.
  • *
  • Whisk the egg whites stiffly.
  • Fold in the sugar and coconut.
  • Spread this mixture over the cake base.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
  • Cut into slices when cool.
Stardust by Colclough Tea Plate

Date & Walnut Cake

  • This cake is not really a Polish recipe but it is well liked in my family.
  • The instructions for the original recipe said to make this in a large loaf tin.
  • However I think it is much better baked as a round cake.

Ingredients

  • 225g dried dates
  • Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • 150ml of boiling water
  • *
  • 75g butter
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 2½ teaspoons of baking powder
  • 75g of walnuts- chopped

Method

  • Grease and line a 20cm circular tin – or use a cake liner.
  • Chop the dates and put them into a bowl.
  • Add the bicarbonate of soda.
  • Pour on the boiling water and mix.
  • Leave till cool.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C
  • Cream the butter and sugar.
  • Beat in the eggs.
  • Mix the baking powder with the flour and stir this in.
  • Stir in the walnuts.
  • Stir in the dates.
  • Mix well together.
  • Spoon into the baking tin – smooth the top with a wooden spoon.
  • Bake for 40 – 45 minutes
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
Lyndale by Royal Standard from the 1950s