Monday, 26 August 2013

More from Mrs. Beeton's Guild to Household Management

The last time I was working at the Bake Oven, I couldn't decide what I wanted to bake.  There are always fixings for soda bread on site, so that is a no brainer.  I'd just picked up a 10 kg bag of flour, so I knew I would also make a yeast bread.   I also had several logs of gingerbread cookie dough still in the freezer, so I knew I'd drag those out as well.  Even a half recipe makes a lot of cookies!    I'd been thumbing and flipping through various early 19th century cook books and had decided that I also wanted to make a cake.   Last time worked so well, by prepping everything ahead of time, so I knew it could be done.  I'd narrowed it down to several recipes, of which several were eliminated due to things like needing 10 eggs and I only had 6 since 2 or 3 of the hens are laying anyplace but where I can find the eggs.   I ended up going with Mrs.  Beeton's Guide to Household Management simply because I have a hard copy facsimile of the first edition of the book, which I can use like a regular cook book.

This is what is left of Mrs.  Beeton's Good Plum Cake recipe.  The use of the work plum in Victorian recipes doesn't actually refer to the fruit we know as plums or prunes today.  Instead it referred to sweet bits of fruit, often currants and raisins.   

This recipe uses only 1/2 cup of butter and has no eggs.  It's a very white cake and was super cumbly until the day after baking.  It's flavoured with currants and candied lemon peel.   It was pretty darned delicious although I'm not sure if it was quite as good as the previous Useful Cake that I baked the last time.

I also baked Mrs. Beeton's recipe for Heavy Gingerbread.  This recipe made 2 8 inch cakes.  It makes a very dense cake.  The flavour is quite strong which goes with the textue.  While I enjoyed it on it's own, it would be perfect with a good cup of tea.   Served with some ice cream, whipped cream or maybe even some Creme Anglais, it would be a stunning and elegant dessert.


Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Both recipes sound good!

Leigh said...

I wonder if I could use figs for that plum cake, LOL. I googled Mrs. Beeton and came up with her book online. What a treat!