Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.
I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Queen Cakes

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How could a person not fall in love immediately with something which is called a Queen Cake??? I think that would be a very difficult thing to do . . .  but these are not just cakes to fall in love with . . . these are cakes with a bit of a history, and I do so love to eat food with a history.

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There are recipes for Queen Cakes which date back as far as the 18th century, with little or no variation from the one which I have here for you today.

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Essentially they are small individual cakes . . . composed of local fresh and honest ingredients . . . butter, sugar, flour and eggs . . . and lots of sweet, little dried currants.   You must not leave these out.   One of these without currants . . . is not technically . . . a Queen Cake.  Currants are an absolute given.

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Simple and good, the ones I baked to day are flavoured simply with fresh un-waxed lemon zest . . . but I have also seen recipes requiring the use of rose water or orange flower water.   I like the lemon zest myself . . . but then I am awfully fond of lemon.

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These were particularly popular during the reign of Queen Victoria, almost patriotically so . . . we've been watching a series on the telly this week on the children of Queen Victoria, and I do believe she was not particularly fond of small children . . . however judging her girth . . . I do think she was probably rather more fond of Queen Cakes.

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Surely I jest . . . and it's all in fun, just like these lovely little cakes.  Always baked in little tins . . . patty pans, bun tins . . . and here today little heart shaped tins . . . they delight the eye and the taste.

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Who wouldn't love a small cake, perfectly sized . . . just for them . . . sweet and buttery, filled with lovely currants . . . fit for a Queen.

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Who indeed?   Not me!  These are incredibly scrummy, which just goes to prove . . . yet again . . . tasty food does not have to be complicated . . . it only needs a bit of skill, and good honest ingredients, well prepared.

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Sometimes called heart cakes . . . you will find yourself wanting to lick the bowl clean.  Is it just me, or does cake batter . . . licked from sticky fingers . . . taste amazingly heavenly? 

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*Queen Cakes*
Makes 12 small buns
or 8 heart shaped cakes
Printable Recipe

Dating from the 18th century, these cakes have always been baked in small individual tins, either patty pans or individual heart shaped molds.   Sweet and buttery, flavoured with lemon, and stogged full of lovely dried currants

125g soft butter (generous half cup)
125g caster sugar (2/3 cup)
2 large free range eggs
150g plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
the finely grated zest of one un-waxed lemon
125g of dried currants (scant cup)
a splash of milk

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.   Butter a 12 hole patty pan, or 8 heart shaped pans.  Line the bottoms of the heart tins with baking paper, and the patty pans with paper cases.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, eating well after each addition.   Beat in the lemon zest.  Sift together the flour and baking powder.  Stir in the currants.  Using a large metal spoon, fold in the flour mixture, along with a splash of milk, to give a gentle dropping consistency.   Spoon into the prepared cases, filling each no more than 2/3 full.

Bake in the heated oven for 20 minutes, until well risen and the tops spring back when lightly touched.  Allow to cool in the tins for 5 to 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Delicious when fresh, but can be stored in an airtight container for up to two days.

 Tune in tomorrow for some tasty Cherry and Almond Scones! ☺

15 comments:

April said...

These look so yummy!! Now I just have to find a heart-shaped tin... somewhere... I shall search, I must make them. I love food with a history too! :)

Suze said...

When I was little we called these fire cakes. We could never wait for them to cool and would always end up with a burnt tongue.

What's Baking?? said...

Hi Marie. This is my first visit to your blog which I think is splendid. I like to explore the world's cuisine and will not spare English food. I'm a big fan of Jamie Oliver and Nigella. Love your blog already and I shall be glad to follow you. This queen cakes is superb. The texture reminds me of madeleine.

La Table De Nana said...

They are darling..

Downton Abbey Darling..Forsyte Saga darling:)

Cathyjo said...

They do look so good,I need to get a heart shape pan as soon as I can.oooxxx

Sandra Lee said...

Very dainty and they look delicious!

Leonora said...

Queen of Hearts to be precise : )
They look lovely in their simplicity.

coral said...

I am hoping you can share where you bought your heart shaped multi tin ?

Marie said...

Hi Coral, I used individual metal cake tins which make mini heart shaped cakes, which I had gotten in North America and brought over a while back, but you can get heart shaped multi tins (Silicone which you won't need to butter or line) at Amazon UK Here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Silikomart-Silicone-Heart-Muffin-Pan/dp/B002OHDA2M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1357456293&sr=8-2

You can get a multi tin in metal from Cake World: http://www.cakecraftworld.co.uk/products.asp?cc=69&scc=441

Hope this helps. Also Divertimenti is a valuable resource for many cookery items.

Leslie said...

They sure look good!!!

mrsnesbitt said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm so dainty! A perfect use for some cutters I never use.

Martha said...

Those look wonderful~ Fantes in the US has heart (6 to a pan) shapes that look like they would work.

Martha said...

Oh - here's the link to the heart pan at Fantes - http://www.fantes.com/images/2588heartpans.jpg

Marie said...

Thank you Martha!! I'm sure my American readers will appreciate! Tis very kind of you to let us know! Tihat pan looks perfect!!

coral said...

Thanks Marie ....