Mar 01 2007

Sponge Cake with a Crust

A Comforting Tea Time Cake

I turn to my beloved Constance Spry Cookery Book first published in 1956. ….”in those days the disposition of a woman’s time made tea time possible, and the taste for, shall I say, the cosier figure gave no cause for apprehension…..” She goes on to discuss the merits and, indeed, politeness of tea time entertaining going into the tricky business of whether one puts ones milk into the tea before or after pouring. There follows a delightfully trivial debate of what was and was not de rigueur at Afternoon tea! Suddenly I was a child again having tea with my scary Granny!

An absolute must, she tells us, is an Old fashioned Sponge Cake with a Crust: I quote: “take five eggs and their weight in castor sugar, and the weight of three of the eggs in flour, plus 1 tablespoon of orange flower water…. ( if you can get it! I will substitute a little orange zest in mine; not the same I know but something rather than nothing)

Separate yolks from whites. Take 1 tablespoon of sugar away from the total quantity for every egg white. Put the remaining sugar into a bowl with the egg yolks. Whisk over gentle heat until white and mousse-like. Add orange flower water. Whip the whites stiffly, incorporate the remaining sugar, and fold into the mixture with sifted flour. Turn at once into a greased and sugared cake tin, bake in a slow to moderate oven forty minutes to one hour………..

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She gives no more instructions, you’re on your own! I guess you just turn it onto a wire rack cool and eat! Bon appetite,sit down, relax, enjoy your afternoon tea!

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