Grandma Abson's Traditional Baking is all about simple and tasty baking, a legacy from my Grandma's time as a cook-housekeeper in Edwardian times and a lifetime of baking.
As I was growing up, I watched her bake and cook, and acquired her expertise and passion for baking. Now I'm sharing Grandma Abson's traditional baking with baking devotees who remember it first time around and a whole generation new to baking. Enjoy!
I have to admit that I am not a fervent monarchist
but, I suspect like many folk, I did spend the day watching the wedding
coverage. Of course, I had a sneaking fascination to see what the bride was wearing. I was also keen to see the cake and
pick up a few tips from Leicestershirebaker,Fiona
Cairns. Kate and William’s cake was a traditional multi tiered one
with the edible flowers representing the 4 nations. It was an amazing creation.
The history of wedding cakes goes back to early medieval times and
later Tudor cakes which were largely bread and dried fruit. More recent
tradition came from Queen Victoria who had the first 3 tiered wedding cake
weighing over 300 lbs, described as a ‘triumph of
architecture.’ Wartime wedding cakes in the 1940s relied on
family and friends saving ration coupons to donate for the ingredients. Couples
sometimes had a cardboard cutout cake with a tiny cake hidden beneath.
Our family always marks big events in family life by making a
cake. Grandma Abson’s niece, Ivy, made the wedding cake for Grandma’s eldest
great granddaughter, Rachel when she married Greg in 2004 and
decorated it with some superb iced flowers.
Rachel and Greg’s stunning wedding cake
I’m keeping up Grandma Abson’s tradition by making the
wedding cake for my daughter in October. Once they make the final decision
about the design, I’ll be working to a timetable starting with
making the fruit cake tier using the recipe for Bride's Cake
from Grandma's recipe book. Here it is :
8oz/225g brown sugar
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp golden syrup
5 eggs (beaten)
9oz/250g self raising
4oz/110g mixed peel
10oz/275g each of
sultanas, raisins, currants
1tsp each of cinnamon
and mixed spice
2oz/50g nut mix
+1oz/25g ground almonds or 3oz/75g ground almonds
Cream the butter and sugar and add the treacle and golden syrup.
Add the eggs and half of the flour and spices. Beat the mixture. Stir in the
almonds and cherries and then the rest of the flour and dried fruit. Add the
stout. Bake for 3 – 3 ½ hours. Start warm for 30 minutes and then gradually
reduce and finish in slow oven. (325F, Mark 3, 170C to 250F. Mark ½ 130C)
You need to make fruit cake in advance so it can mature. Then
every week or so prick the top and pour a few teaspoonsful of
brandy to help the process. Two weeks before it's needed, cover the cake with homemade almond paste. Here is Grandma’s recipe :
12oz/340g caster sugar
4 tablespoonfuls of lemon juice
2 tablespoonsful of water instead of the egg
Mix all the ingredients and bind the paste together. You can also
substitute a 1 tablespoon of sherry instead of 1 of the water. You can also
substitute half of the caster sugar with icing sugar.
Grandma's recipe, I know my daughter's wedding cake will taste as good as the
royal cake. Congratulations and good luck to the happy royal couple!