Ancient Recipes – Old Fashioned Cakes

Please note: These recipes are untested – we have not tried to make them or eat the results. But they may well work. They are certainly very old recipes…

Here is a fascinating article on the same subject

Cakes are now declared a relatively new invention. Not as old as bread. They have changed a lot since they first appeared on our tables. Watching the “Victorian Bakers” on television sent me away to look in the old cook book once more.

Old Fashioned Cakes contained Yeast. That was then the raising agent of choice. Not Baking Powder. Of course flour was different too. And sugar.

Buns and a couple of things that might pass as cake. A different more substantial kind of cookery.

Want to try? Have a go. Here are the recipes using yeast and not much else in the way of raising agents. Maybe if there’s a budget, then take care and don’t waste. Wilful Waste makes Woeful Want.

You may eventually have to adapt them but try them as they are first. Could be fun. According to Aunty Nellie there was nothing that couldn’t be saved with custard…

BUNS:
1lb flour
4 oz. butter
2 oz. margarine
2 tablespoons sugar
10 oz. currants
Almost half-a-cupful of yeast
A little clove pepper (and caraway seeds if liked)

Mix the flour and sugar and rub the butter and margarine well into the flour. Add the currants, (caraway seeds), and clove pepper. Set the yeast to rise for half an hour, then mix in to form a dough. Let the mixture stand till it rises, then make up into buns and bake.

PLAIN BUNS:
1lb flour
4 oz. butter
4 oz. sugar
Cup of yeast
A spoonful or two of cream
(Dessertspoonful of caraway seeds)
A little grated nutmeg
Milk

Rub the butter into the flour and add the sugar, grated nutmeg (and caraway seeds). Put a spoonful or two of cream into a cup of yeast, and as much good milk as will make the mixture into a light dough. Set it to rise by the fire for a while. Make into buns and bake in tins in a quick oven.

RICH BUNS:
24 oz. flour
8 oz. sugar
8 oz. margarine
8 oz. butter
Half a pint of yeast
6 spoonfuls of rose water
5 oz. caraway comfits

Mix the flour, sugar and caraway comfits. Melt the butter and margarine in a little warm water, add the rose water. Dissolve the yeast. Mix the whole into a light dough, and knead. Put into tins and bake a nice brown.

BANBURY CAKES:
1 lb four
4 oz. butter
Milk
2 oz. yeast
Sugar
Currants
Essence of lemon

Rub the butter into the flour, and mix in the yeast, dissolved in a little milk. Roll round, and put in the middle, sugar, currants and essence of lemon, well mixed. Bake in a fairly hot oven.

CHELSEA BUNS:
1 lb flour
3 oz. sugar
half pint of milk
3 oz. margarine
Half ounce of German yeast

Mix the flour and sugar and rub in the margarine; warm the milk and pour it over the yeast. When the yeast is dissolved mix with the flour, sugar and margarine. Knead thoroughly and place in a warm place to rise; this will take about 30 minutes. Knead again, and set aside for a short time. When the mixture has risen, divide into small pieces, place into a hot baking tin, which has been well floured, and bake in a good oven. Brush the tops with milk or white of eggs and sprinkle caster sugar on. A small quantity of currants may be added if preferred.

HOLIDAY CAKE:
1 lb. flour
4 oz. butter
4 oz. margarine
1 large spoonful yeast
Milk and Water
1 lb. currants
8 oz. castor sugar
2 oz. almonds
3 oz. stoned raisins
Nutmeg
Cinnamon
Allspice
Cloves
Peel of 1 lemon
Glass of Wine or Brandy
4 eggs
8 oz. mixed peel

Rub the fat into the flour, and mix with the yeast dissolved in a little warm milk and water. Set to rise before the fire for 1 and a half hours, and beat in all the other ingredients, the eggs beaten well, yolks and whites separately. Well butter the cake tines and cook in a quick oven.

HOT CROSS BUNS:
1 lb. flour
1 oz. yeast
4 oz. castor sugar
half a pint of milk
3 oz. butter
2 oz. mixed peel
6 oz. currants
1 teaspoonful mixed spice

Rub the butter into the flour; add the spice, currants and peel. Warm the milk nad our on the sugar, then pour it on to the yeast and carefully work out the lumps. Pour this into the middle of the flour and mix well; stand it in front of the fire to rise for about 30 minutes. Make into round buns and stand on a greased tin to rise for another 30 minutes. Make a cross with the back of a knife and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Brush over with white of egg and castor sugar a few minutes before done.

HOT CROSS BUNS: (another recipe)
2 lb. flour
8 oz. castor sugar
6 oz. butter
Half a pint of milk
A pinch of salt
Coriander seed
Cassia
Mace
3 tablespoonsful of yeast

Mix the sugar, flour and pinch of salt, and then ass in the corainder seed, cassia, and mace to taste. Warm the milk, dissolve the butter and yeast in it, then mix all together to form a dough. Set it before the fire to rise for half an hour; then make into buns, and again, set before the fire for half an hour. Then brush over with warm milk and bake a nice brown in a moderate oven.

Now research carefully. These recipes are as they are. No real method or temperatures are given, so you will have to look online. But then, that is where the fun is.

Ancient Recipes – Old Fashioned Cakes

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