Saturday 24 December 2011

Something special for Boxing Day

Special Boxing Day Cake
I made some amazing discoveries amongst the treasure trove of Grandma's recipes. Here is her special cake for Boxing Day with dates, honey and a hint of almond, giving it a taste of North Africa. I’ve made Boxing Day Cake for people to try at book signings and events about Grandma Abson's Traditional Baking. It’s been fantastic to see the delight on their faces when they taste it. I've given the recipe out to listeners on Radio Sheffield too. 
So, what is Boxing Day? It's said that servants received a box with leftover foodstuffs for them to take to visit their families after the Christmas Day festivities. I’ve not been able to find out where Grandma got this recipe from, but since it has dates, this was a good way to use any dates left from Christmas Day feasting. It also has only a very small amount of sugar and I’ve made it without sugar and let the sweetness come through the dates and honey. The cake will keep a few days as it is fairly moist. Grandma adds milk before baking in the oven which gives the cake a lighter texture. It doesn’t take too long to mix and will certainly be a talking point for your family and friends.

Boxing Day Cake  
6 oz (175g) margarine or butter
1 dessertspoon sugar
3 tablespoons honey
3 eggs
4 oz (110g) dates
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
Few drops of almond extract
1 lb (450g) self raising flour (sifted)
Milk to mix 

Cream the fats, sugar and honey. Slowly beat in the eggs. Then add the dates (cut into quarters), nutmeg, salt and almond essence. Gradually, fold in the sifted flour. Beat well with a wooden spoon. Add the milk to give a soft consistency. Put into a greased and lined 8” (21cm) tin. Bake in a slow oven for about 1 hour. (300 F, Mark 2, 150 C).
Happy and blissful baking for Boxing Day!

P.S. I went to see the E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children at Waterloo Station in London. I’ve always loved the story since I first read it as a child in the 1950s. I thought the production was magnificent. I've been supporting the charity Railway Children this year.

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