I have a bit of an interest in cakes tagged with ‘favourite of’ or ‘liked by’ the Queen Mother, our present Queen’s mother who passed on a number of years ago now. I’m not sure where this interest comes from, but it is undeniably there. I’ve collected three recipes so far, one from a Maida Heatter book for a chocolate cake, a date pudding liked by her in The Fabulous Baker Brothers by Tom and Henry Herbert, and this glorious one here.
Cake Magic by Kate Shirazi published by Anova in 2011. It a lovely colourful book, and I like the layout and patterns here and there. Not all the cakes are pictured, but a large percentage of them are. There are a few ‘getting started’ pages covering *The outs and ins of tins* Basic ingredients* Timing and testing* and * Troubleshooting*. The recipe chapters are: *Everyday Cakes* Posh Cakes* Little Cakes* Tea Breads, Buns and Loaves* and * Cheesecakes*. Plus of course it has Kate’s commentary and introductions, in her frank and often amusing style.
I’ve marked a number of cakes I’d like to try in this one including: Famous Five Cake, Chocolate Orange Loaf, Orange and Sultana Cake, Fig and Raisin Tea Bread, The Fondant Fancy, A Sophisticated Cake (almond and lemon flourless with icing and rose petals), Chocolate Meringue Tower and Chocolate Chestnut Cake to name but a few…
This recipe here is one Kate found in her Grandma’s recipe book. The sheet with the cake recipe on it was titled ‘Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s Favourite Cake’. Now I’m not making any claims here, it may or may not have been a favourite. It was the reason I was particularly drawn to make this cake first, rather than some of the others above. I have always wanted to go up to visit the Castle of Mey, her Scottish home latterly, way up north, and one day hopefully I’ll get there.
Anyhow, in the meantime I would like to think she liked this cake, and if she did well and good, but if not; well it’s a fantastic sticky toffee cake to have with tea or coffee. The topping is almost like a thin (though not too thin!) layer of fudge, and the cake is moist and sticky because of the dates, especially the day after making.
HRH Fave Cake
Posted here from Cake Magic by Kate Shirazi published in 2011 with kind permission from Anova books, thank you.
150g / 5 oz / ¾ cup stoned and chopped dates
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
250ml / 8 fl oz / 1 cup boiling water
200g / 7oz / 1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
200g / 7oz / 1 cup unsalted butter – (divided see recipe)
250g / 9oz / 2 ¼ cups self-raising flour
1 large free-range egg, beaten
300g / 10oz / 1 ½ cups light muscovado sugar
4 tablespoons double (whipping) cream
1. Preheat the oven to 160 oC / 325 oF / Gas mark 3. Grease and line a 20cm / 8 inch square cake tin. Put the date and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl, pour the boiling water over and leave to soak for 5 minutes or so.
2. In a big bowl (or mixer), beat the caster sugar and 50g / 1 ¾oz / scant ¼ cup butter, flour and egg, then stir in the date / water/ bicarbonate of soda mix.
3. Put the mixture in the tin, level out the surface and bake for about 35 minutes or until firm and springy to the touch. Cool on a wire rack (in the tin) while you get on with the topping.
4. Put the muscovado sugar, remaining butter and the cream in a pan. Gently heat to melt the sugar (stirring often) and then boil rapidly for 1 – 2 minutes stirring all the time. Leave the mixture to cool a little, then spread all over the cake and leave alone for 1 – 2 hours for the topping to fully set. Serves 8.
My Note: I cut this into 16 squares, and also beat the cooling topping to thicken a little.
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