It is holiday time for me for the next nine days, and very glad I am of it too. Stories will still magically pop up at the appointed time however, thanks to a mad rush of writing before departure and especially to modern technology, which allows them to be pre-posted.
Many things go by the name of ‘Easter Cake’, and today I give you a small sample and wish you bon choix!
Take 1 lb butter to 2 lbs of fine flour, and mix thoroughly well together. Add 1 lb of sifted sugar, 1 lb of currants, and beat in a separate basic eight eggs to a froth. Strain some saffron (about four pennyworth) – two or three times into the basin, and add one shilling’s worth of brandy. Beat all well together, and pour into the other basin containing the flour. If it is too moist, add a little more flour; if the effect is contrary, put either another egg or a little more brandy. The dough is then set out in any sized cakes required on a baking sheet, but they should be about a couple of inches thick, and when baked present a light brown appearance. The quantity of saffron can be varied according to taste, some people liking the cakes more highly flavoured than others.
[The Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle (Portsmouth, England), March 7, 1891]
Scotch shortbread is frequently substituted for Easter cake. I give a recipe for one kind of Easter Cake.
1 ½ lb flour, ½ lb sugar, ⅓ lb butter, ½ lb currants, 1 ½ oz candied peel sliced, powdered cinnamon to taste, the yolks of four and whites of three eggs, a glass of brandy, and half a teaspoon of sal volatile. Mix the dry ingredients first, well beat the eggs, add them, and thoroughly mix. Roll out to any thickness, make into round cakes, and bake in a quick oven.
[Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Saturday, April 17, 1897]
Child’s Easter Cake.
2 cups sugar.
1 cup butter.
3 cups flour.
2 teaspoons baking powder.
Whites of seven eggs beaten to a stiff froth with a pinch of salt.
Cream butter and sugar. Add flour and baking powder, then milk. Flavor with extract of almond. Fold in eggs last. Slow oven for one hour. When cool, cover with white icing. Ornament center with candy rabbit and row of pink, blue, and brown sugar eggs around edge.
[Washington Post, Jan. 13, 1929]
Quotation for the Day.
If you are ever at a loss to support a flagging conversation, introduce the subject of eating.