WW1 Spiced Sultana Cake
This is one of Granny Dot’s recipes, re-invented. I have kept the same ingredients and changed the quantities, adding demerara sugar for a wonderful finish. The recipe comes from Learning to Cook which was published during the First World War in 1915.
I have made the recipe a few times and every person who has tried it has said it is the best, or among the best cakes they have ever had. Anna del Conte described this cake as “perfection” – what better recommendation?
In the words of Granny Dot:
‘1 lb. of flour, one teaspoonful of bakkng powder, half a saltspoonful of salt, a quarter of a teaspoon of allspice or ground ginger, and 4 oz. of brown sugar. Mix thoroughly, then rub in 4 oz. of brown sugar. mix thoroughly, then rub in 4 oz. of clarified dripping or half margarine and half dripping, or all butter. Add 4 oz. of sultanas, and mix with half a pint of milk added gradually and mixed well. Bake in a greased tin in a moderate oven, increasing the heat a little after the first ten minutes. This recipe may be varied, adding currants and peel or using white suar instead of brown, adding one or two beatn-up eggs, and substituting caraway seeds for fruit, but when eggs are used they should be stirred up with the milk and less milk used. In cake making use too little liquid rather than too much, for more may be added, whereas what is put in cannot be taken away. The dough should not be wet but fairly firm.’
150g unsalted butter, softened
120g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed Spice
1 1/2 tbsp demerara sugar
Set the oven to 190 degrees C
1. Butter a Victoria Sandwich cake tin with unsalted butter and line the base with baking paper. (In order to save time, I tend to make two cakes, putting one in the freezer for a rainy day.)
2. Mix all of the ingredients except the demerara sugar, together.
3. Add to the tin and sprinkle the demerara sugar on top.
4. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
5. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing it and placing on a wire rack to cool.
6. This is lovely served warm.