I got me mates Kirsty, Keith and Thom over for a quintessentially English high tea for Bank Holiday Monday, and made some nice cakes. I did ( #52) Sponge Cake I (of two) and (#53) Ginger Cake, as well as some biscuits – I still had some dough left in the freezer from when I made (#29) Elegant Sugar Thins way back in February. We had an ace laugh., but fell pretty sick. I’ve still got some of the ginger cake, and probably will do for a few more days! Kirsty and Keith got me some ace pressies – the best being the Chinese tea set with green gunpowder tea. There’s some recipes that have gunpowder tea in it too – I had no idea what it was (and still don’t – is it the same as normal green tea?) but will find out in due course.
Sponge Cake I was pretty easy and Greg and I enjoyed making it – I’m trying to get him baking, but there is some resistance. Simply whisk together 3 ounces of caster sugar and eggs until they are all whipped up and pale in colour; this takes a while even using an electric mixer. While you’re waiting sieve 3 ounces of plain flour along with a pinch of salt, and fold it into the eggy mixture carefully using a metal spoon. (Apparently the friction of the wooden spoon pops the bubbles). Divide the mixture between two 7 inch sandwich tins that have been greased and sugared and bake for – 12 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Keep an eye on it if you’ve got a fan oven like me though, it does keep the oven dry (I shall use the water in the bottom of the oven trick next time). Turn them onto a wire rack, sprinkle with sugar, and allow to cool. Fill with whipped cream and raspberry jam.
The ginger cake was easy too. It’s one of those dense treacly ones that sink in the centre and weigh a ton – at least in comparison to the sponge cake. Start by creaming 4 ounces of butter, then add 4 ounces of Demerara sugar and beat that in too. Next, mix in 2 eggs and 10 ounces of black treacle (it sounds like a lot of treacle, and it is!). Sieve together 8 ounces of flour and a generous teaspoon of ground ginger and mix into the butter and treacle. Then, weigh out 2 ounces each of sultanas and chopped preserved stem ginger and mix them in too. Finally warm ½ a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and 2 tbs of milk in the microwave and stir them in. Pour the mixture into a 7or 8 inch cake tin that has been lined with greaseproof paper and bake for an hour and a quarter or more depending on the size of the tin at 160 degrees Celsius. Grigson reckons it gets better if you leave it. We shall see…
FYI: ginger is both a stimulant and a muscle relaxant due to it’s antispasmodic properties. It also does you wonders if you’ve got the shits. Plus, it is an essential seasoning for whale meat, according to Larousse Gastromonique!
#52 Sponge Cake I – 6/10. A nice sponge cake, but I’m used to a Victoria sponge with butter in it, and I’m not used to this super-spongy, like actual sponge, texture. This may be down to my new oven of course drying the bugger out. However any cake is nice by me, especially when it’s filled with cream and jam. We shall have to see what sponge cake II is like!!
#53 Ginger Cake – 7/10. I preferred this cake, although it was more of a treacle cake, than a ginger one. It reminds me of a stickier version of Yorkshire parkin, which is usually dry and crumbly. It’s definitely a wintertime heavy stodge cake, rather than a summery light teatime cake. The addition of the ginger pieces and sultanas made it very moreish. I reckon I would be nice warmed up and served with vanilla or ginger ice cream.