Saturday, 4 June 2011

The heavenly taste of Paradise Cake

Just under one week to go to Grandma Abson's Traditional Baking book launch and the tension is mounting. I never realised how much energy and effort goes into getting a book and ebook into the marketplace. The process was so different thirty years ago when I produced a booklet of Grandma Abson’s Yorkshire recipes.

Putting Grandma's collection of recipes together has been a real labour of love. I love baking and, better still, my family and friends love consuming what I bake. Although we are driven by new technology, there’s a distinct culinary nostalgia to look back to times past. In Grandma’s recipe book, you’ll find out about traditional home baking as well as something of her life in the Edwardian period to the late 20th century.

I've chosen Paradise Cake to feature on the front cover of Grandma’s book. This cake fits perfectly in Grandma’s rich repertoire and her philosophy of simple, baking to delight our taste buds. It’s a very easy fruit cake recipe which is lighter than traditional fruit cakes and perfect for a summer’s afternoon tea with a hint of lemon.

Paradise Cake
9oz/250g flour
6oz/175g margarine or butter
6oz/175g sugar
2oz/50g nuts
8oz/225g raisins
2oz/50g mixed peel
2 oz cherries
3 eggs
Lemon extract
½ tsp baking powder

“Sieve the flour and baking powder. Beat the margarine or butter and sugar until white. Beat the eggs lightly and add to the mixture. Mix well and add the flour gradually, keeping out a little in which to mix the fruit and nuts. Add this and lastly the lemon essence. Bake for 1 – 1 ½ hours in a moderate oven.” (350F, Mark 4, 180 C)
I’m delighted that the launch of Grandma Abson’s book is at the Rockingham Training Centre, Dearne Valley College just a short distance from the street where Grandma was in service in Wath on Dearne in the early 1900s. The Catering & Hospitality students are busy selecting which of Grandma’s 200 recipes to make for the guests. I’m intrigued to find out which ones they’ll choose. I’m looking forward to a splendid celebration of traditional baking and I’m sure Grandma will be watching from her heavenly kitchen to make sure they bake to perfection!

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