In "At Bertram's Hotel" Miss Jane Marple arrives at the hotel at the tea hour and the big entrance lounge was the favourite place for the afternoon tea drinking. An old acquaintance of Miss Marple's - Lady Selina - has been offered cake for afternoon tea - "real seed cake". So, as I have never had seed cake before I looked up some recipes and was lucky enough to find several recipes - the best of which was a Nigel Slater recipe which is utterly delicious.
As you can see, we made short work of the seed cake this afternoon and I feel I simply must share this recipe with you.
Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3.
Prepare a loaf tin (20cm x 9cm x 7cm) by lining it with baking parchment.
120g Caster Sugar
3 Large Eggs
170g Self-Raising Flour
50g Ground Almonds
1 tsp Caraway Seeds
2 tbs milk
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Beat the 3 eggs together and add gradually to the butter and sugar.
When well mixed add the 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds, the self raising flour and ground almonds.
Finally add the milk.
Scrape into the loaf tin and bake for an hour.
This cake needs no embellishments and should be enjoyed as is.
I realise that I posted a photograph of Madeleines in my previous post but forgot to provide the recipe. So here it is as follows:
You will need a Madeleine mould which should be buttered and floured.
125g Caster Sugar
110 g Self-Raising Flour - sifted
Half teaspoon Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
2 Large Eggs (at room temperature)
110 g Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled slightly
Butter and flour for the Madeleine mould.
Combine the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Stir in the eggs mixing just to combine - you do not want to incorporate too much air into the batter.
Finally, stir in the butter.
Cover the bowl with plastic film and refrigerate for one hour. The chilling is important as it makes the batter easier to pipe and ensures a higher rise during baking. You could actually store the batter, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
After one hour, preheat the oven to 205C.
Prepare the moulds with the butter and flour.
Transfer the batter to a pastry/piping bag fitted with a No. 5 plain tip nozzle and pipe it into the prepared moulds.
Bake the madeleines for about 7 minutes, or until the cakes spring back in the centre when lightly touched.
Eat whilst still warm with tea or coffee!