There are so many unusual recipes and ingredients in Lesley’s collection of old cookery books and manuscripts…
These little cakes are delicious and capture the flavour and texture of a past delicacy.
To make little Currant Cakes:
Mrs Elizabeth Raffald (1769) The Experienced English House-Keeper:
To one pound and a half of fine flour, dry it well before the fire, a pound of butter, half a pound of fine loaf sugar well beat and sifted, four yolks of eggs, four spoonfuls of rose water, four spoonfuls of sack, a little mace, one nutmeg grated; beat the eggs very well, and put them to the rose water and sack, then put to the sugar and butter; work them all together, strew in the currants and the flour, being both made warm together before – This quantity will make six or eight cakes; bake them crisp and a fine brown.
Ingredients – this makes quite a lot of cakes – you may prefer to use half these ingredients!
12oz (375g) Flour ( ¾ white, ¼ wholemeal)
8 oz (250g) Softened Butter
4 oz Caster Sugar (125g)
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons Rose Water
2 tablespoons Sherry
1 teaspoon Ground Mace
½ Nutmeg ground
4 oz (125g) Currants
1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C. 160°C fan
2. In a large bowl (using a hand mixer) beat the egg yolks, and then blend in the rose water and sherry. Now add the softened butter and caster sugar and whisk again.
3. Mix flour and spice together then add to the main mixture – whisk again. Finally, add the currants and mix them in with a large spoon.
4. Cut sheets of baking parchment paper to fit baking trays
5. Using 2 teaspoons, spoon out small ‘cakes’ per sheet then flatten them with the spoons.
6. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden – check after 10 minutes just in case your oven is quite hot.
7. Remove trays from the oven and slide parchment with cakes onto a cooling rack.
If not to be used on the day of baking, store cakes in an airtight container.