Saturday, 14 November 2009

Wedding Cake recipe

Wedding Cake
1 lb. (4 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 level teaspoons mixed spice
1 level teaspoon cinnamon
12 oz. (1 1/2 cups) butter or margarine
12 oz. (1 1/2 cups) soft brown sugar
6 standard eggs
2 tablespoons (2 1/2 T) treacle (dark molasses)
4 tablespoons (5 T) sweet sherry or brandy
1 teaspoon almond essence (extract)
1 tablespoon (1 1/4 T) liquid coffee essence (strong coffee)
2 oz. (1/2 cup) blanched almonds, chopped
2 oz. (1/4 cup) ground almonds
1 lb. (3 cups) sultanas (golden raisins)
12 oz. (just under 2 1/2 cups) currants
8 oz. (1 1/2 cups) seedless raisins
2 oz. (4 pieces) preserved ginger, chopped
4 tablespoons (5 T) glace cherries, halved
2 oz. (1/2 cup) mixed chopped peel Finely grated peel of 1 orange

Almond Paste:
1 lb. (2 cups) ground almonds
8 oz. (1 cup) castor (granulated) sugar
1 lb. (2 1/2 cups) icing (confectioners') sugar, sifted
2 standard eggs
2 teaspoons brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (extract)
1/2 teaspoon almond essence (extract) Lemon juice
Apricot jam (preserve)

Royal Icing
5 egg whites
Approximately 2 lb. (5 cups) icing (confectioners') sugar, sifted Blue food colouring
4 drops glycerine

Pre-heat oven to cool (300°F, Gas Mark 2). Brush one 8 in. and one 6 in. square cake tin (pan) with melted fat. Line the base and sides with double thickness greaseproof (waxed) paper and brush with more fat. Sift together the flour, mixed spice and cinnamon.
Cream the butter or margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy then beat in the whole eggs, one at a time, adding a dessertspoon (tablespoon) dry ingredients with each.
Lightly fold in half the flour mixture, then stir in the treacle (molasses), sherry or brandy, almond essence (extract), coffee essence (coffee) and chopped and ground almonds. Thoroughly mix in the fruit, ginger, cherries, mixed peel and orange peel. Using a large metal spoon, stir in the remaining flour, then transfer the mixture to the
prepared tins (pans).
Bake the small cake in the centre of the oven and the large cake on shelf below for 2 hours. Reverse position of cakes. Bake the smaller cake for a further 30-45 minutes, the large cake for another 1 1 1/2-2 hours, or until a cocktail stick etc. inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.
Leave 20 minutes before turning out and cooling on wire (cake) racks. Wrap in aluminium foil when completely cold and leave for at least one week before covering with Almond Paste.

To make Almond Paste:
Mix together the almonds and sugars then form into a fairly stiff paste with the eggs, brandy, essences (extracts) and lemon juice. Turn on to a sugar-dusted surface and knead until smooth, working in a little extra sifted icing (confection¬ers') sugar if almond paste is on the wet side, or a little extra beaten egg if it is on the dry side. Brush the sides and tops of both cakes with melted and sieved apricot jam (preserves), then very neatly cover the top and sides of the larger cake with two-thirds of the almond paste. Repeat with the smaller cake using remaining almond paste.
Place on boards 2 in. larger all the way round than the cakes, and set both aside for at least a week before covering with Royal Icing. In this way the almond paste will become firm and therefore the almond oil is not as likely to come through and discolour the white icing.

To make Royal Icing:
Lightly beat the egg whites then gradually add the icing (confectioners') sugar, beating thoroughly until a smooth, semi-stiff (but pliable) icing is formed. Stir in sufficient blue food colouring to make the mixture appear very white, then add the glycerine to prevent the icing becoming rock hard, brittle and difficult to cut.
Spread the icing over the top and sides of the cakes, smoothing with a large, flat-bladed knife (spatula) dipped from time to time in hot water and shaken dry. Leave for a few days for icing to harden before decorating.

To decorate and finish cake:
Make up the Royal Icing as above, using about half to three-quarters of the quantity; omit the glycerine and add 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Pipe the tops and sides of the two cakes as liked with rosettes, lines of trellis, dots, etc. Decorate with silver horseshoes and cupids, then fix three small pillars on the lower tier using icing to hold them in place.
When completely set and hardened, stand the smaller tier on the pillars and top with any suitable bridal decoration.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Engagement Cake recipe

Engagement Cake
4 oz. (1 cup) self-raising flour, sifted
1 level teaspoon baking powder, sifted
4 oz. (1/2 cup) luxury or easy-cream margarine
4 oz. (1/2 cup) castor (granulated) sugar
2 large eggs
Finely grated peel of 1 small orange

Chocolate Icing
1 oz. (2 T) luxury or easy-cream margarine
3 tablespoons (3 3/4 T) cold water
2 oz. (2 squares) plain (bitter) chocolate
6 oz. (1 cup) icing (confectioners') sugar, sifted

12 yd. ribbon (colour to taste)
A circlet of fresh or artificial blossom

Pre-heat oven to moderate (350°F, Gas Mark 4). Brush an 8 in. sandwich tin (cake pan) with melted margarine and line the base with greased greaseproof (waxed) paper.
Place all cake ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon until well-mixed, about 3 minutes.
Transfer to the prepared tin (pan) and bake in the centre of the oven for 25-35 minutes or until well risen and golden. Leave in the tin (pan) for 5 minutes then turn out and cool on a wire (cake) rack.

To make icing and decorate the cake:
Put all the ingredients, except sugar, in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture thickens slightly. Cool a little then beat in the sugar. Continue beating until the icing is of a coating consistency. Pour over the cake and leave to set.
Place the cake on a cakeboard or flat plate, tie ribbon round the sides (finishing with a bow), then stand a circlet of blossom on top.


Cake-making is one of life's more pleasurable occupations simply be-cause it does not fall into the category of routine cooking. Basic meals have to be provided, day after day, with monotonous regularity, but cakes are something different, something spec-dal, and something apart. One usually makes them because one wants to and not because one has to and for this very reason one's approach is tempered with enthusiasm and eagerness rather than with boredom and marginal irritation at having to produce something for supper yet again.

This site, to cover as much ground as possible, but obviously there are omissions. This is inevitable. There is something for everyone, be it a simple family cake for a children's tuck-in or an exotic gateau for a very special and important occasion.

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