Monday, September 03, 2007

Magna Carta Cake.

Today, September 3rd

Today, if I don’t get lost en route from Norwich and Lincoln, I will be visiting my aunt and uncle in Lincoln. The city of Lincoln has a connection with my home town of Brisbane, Australia. During the country’s bicentennial year, Brisbane hosted ‘Expo ‘88’, which was enormous fun (and in fact we are still enjoying its legacy as the Expo site became our wonderful South Bank riverside public park, complete with inner-city beach). One of the other wonderful treats that year was that the Lincoln Cathedral copy (one of four that survive) of the historic Magna Carta was brought to Brisbane and put on display for all to see.

The Magna Carta, or ‘Great Charter of Freedoms’ established for the first time the principle that the power of the king could in fact be limited. It was signed, apparently fairly reluctantly, by King John at Runymede on the Thame in 1215. It was a truly amazing experience in this country with such a short history, to be able to actually look at a document signed over seven centuries before. Naturally, such temporary gifts deserve a good party, and one was held on June 15th (the anniversary of the signing of the Charter) in the Expo year. A special cake was made for the occasion, adapted apparently from “an old English recipe”, and the recipe is given pride of place in the 1988 edition of the fundraiser Lincoln Cathedral Cookbook.

Magna Carta Cake.
8 oz (225 gm) stale white bread without crusts.
½ pt (250 ml) milk
2 tablespoons (2 x 15ml) rum
4 oz (125 gm) dried fruit
2 oz (50 gm) chopped candied peel
3 oz (75 gm) mixed chopped pecans, macadamias, almonds
Grated rind of 1 large orange and 1 large lemon
2 oz (50 gm) shredded suet
2 oz (50 gm) soft brown sugar
1 level teaspoon (1 x 5ml) mixed spice
1 level teaspoon (1 x 5ml) cinnamon
1 level teaspoon (1 x 5ml) nutmeg
1 egg

Rum and Orange Butter Icing.
4 oz (125 gm) unsalted butter.
4 oz (125 gm) soft brown sugar.
½ teaspoon (½ x 5ml) grated orange rind.
1 tablespoon (1 x 15ml) boiling water.
1 teaspoon (1 x 5ml) orange juice.
4 tablespoons dark rum.
Extra grated orange rind.

Butter a 9” x 5” (23 cm x 13 cm) tin or ovenproof dish.
Break the bread into small pieces and put into a mixing bowl containing the milk and rum, and leave to soak for an hour. Beat out lumps with a fork.
Add fruit, peel, nuts, lemon and orange rinds, suet, sugar and spice and mix well.
Beat egg and stir into the mixture to give a soft dropping consistency.
Turn into buttered dish and bake in pre-set oven (350o F, 180o C, Gas Mark 4) for 1 ½ - 2 hours till crunchy on top and set underneath.
Cream butter, sugar, and orange rind in a warm bowl. Add boiling water and beat until sugar grains are dissolved. Add orange juice and rum gradually otherwise the icing will curdle. Spread over the cooled cake.

Tomorrow’s Story …

Parmesan Ice Cream.

Quotation for the Day …

Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. Miriam Beard


T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

It is so interesting to hear about all these cakes tied to historical events and political events. This sounds quite tasty and worth a try. It fits nicely along with recipes like Queen Cake, Washington Cake, and Election Cake. I'm enjoying reading about your travels, and look forward to reports about the symposium.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say congratulations for you mention in the Courier Mail! Just in case you didn't see it here's the link.,23739,22321718-5013511,00.html