In the category of Random Interesting Food Stories I have for you today a short piece from an Australian newspaper in 1934 concerning a cake with a rather unusual filling. To give the context, ‘In Paramatta Gaol the most desperate criminals are housed. They include “lifers” and long sentence men who would not stop at murder to gain their liberty or pay off a grudge.’
An attempt to smuggle a revolver and a packet of cartridges, which had been cunningly hidden in the middle of a high iced cake posted to a prisoner, has been discovered by officials at Parramatta Gaol. A State-wide search is being made for the responsible person. Officials are convinced that had the revolver been smuggled into the prison either an organised attempt to escape would have been made by men willing to take any risks, or a warder, recently threatened, would have been shot. Every article of food received at the prison is tested to see if it contains tools or weapons. In examining a cake the officials pierce it with a thin steel wire, which causes no damage. In this case the wire struck something hard, and when the cake was opened the weapon and ammunition were found.
It is believed by detectives that the smuggling is associated with a recent attempt to stir up trouble in the gaol, following the appointment of a new warder. The police state that a number of prisoners tried to bluff the warder into granting many requests. These requests were refused, and six ringleaders, who had planned to secure the support of 200 gaol inmates to create trouble, were taken away at night and sent to various gaols.
News (Adelaide SA) 22 December 1934
Well, Thank Goodness for X-Ray equipment in such places nowadays, I say.
The reporter of the above story completely omitted the very important information on the exact type of cake involved. I feel sure that it would be a complete research dead-end to attempt to find this out, so instead I have chosen a random interesting recipe from another Australian newspaper of 1934.
THE PERFECT ORANGE CAKE
With Filling and Icing
One of the most delightful and easy to-make of modern confections is orange cake. It has an orangey sweet frosting, light tender layers, a fluffy creamy filling, all delicately flavoured with orange. Here is the recipe for a cake large enough to serve eight people:
Beat together until thick two egg yolks, four tablespoonfuls of orange juice, the grated rind of one orange, and half a tablespoonful of lemon juice. Gradually add three-quarters of a cupful of sugar, beating with an egg-beater. Fold in the whites of two eggs beaten until stiff. Then fold in lightly one cupful of flour, two teaspoonfuls of baking powder, and quarter of a teaspoonful of salt which have been sifted together four times. Put into a greased, deep round pan and bake for half an hour in a moderate oven. Split and put the cream filling between the layers and cover the top and sides with orange icing.
To make orange cream filling, melt two tablespoonfuls of butter. Add four tablespoonfuls of cornflour, the grated rind of one orange, one cupful of orange juice, and one cupful of sugar. Bring to boiling point and stir occasionally. Cook for 15 minutes over boiling water (in a double saucepan). Add half a teaspoonful of lemon juice. Cool and fold in half a cupful of whipped cream.
Orange Icing: Boil one cupful of sugar and one-third of a cupful of 'water without stirring until the syrup spins a thread when dropped from a spoon, Pour slowly on to one egg white which has been beaten until stiff. Beat constantly with an egg beater until the mixture holds its shape. Then gradually fold in one egg yolk, half a teaspoonful of orange juice, and a little orange rind. Spread this on the cake. In making the icing, add the egg yolk very slowly until the right colour and consistency is obtained.
The Courier Mail , 1 February 1934