Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee with Doncaster Butterscotch Cake


There’s something festive going on this week. Every shop is decked out with bunting for the Diamond Jubilee of HR Queen Elizabeth II. In my home town of Doncaster, visitors will enjoy a special treat based on the famous Doncaster Royal Butterscotch. Together with Visit Doncaster and Doncaster College and the support of Sainsburys & Taylors of Harrogate, students will be baking and serving up Butterscotch desserts, including Grandma Abson's recipe for Butterscotch and Orange Cake.  
Doncaster Butterscotch & Orange Cake
5 oz (175g) butter
5 oz (175g) soft brown sugar
3 eggs
5 oz (175g) self raising flour (sieved)
Pinch of salt
Grated rind of 1 large orange
Strained juice of ½ orange 

Preheat the oven to 180°C, Mark 4, 350F. Line the bases of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins with non-stick baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat the eggs and add a little at a time, adding a dessertspoonful of flour with each egg. Fold in the remaining flour, the orange rind and the orange juice. Divide the mixture between the 2 cake tins and bake for about 25 minutes until they start to shrink from the sides and a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean. Place on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto the rack and leave until cool.

Filling and topping
3 oz (75g) butter
3 oz (75g) demerara sugar
2 oz (50g) flour (or cornflour)
4 fl oz (100ml) milk
Butterscotch chips
Icing sugar

“Melt the butter and sugar in a pan (preferably non stick) and stir over a low heat for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the flour a little at a time, adding the milk alternately. Stir well, using a (non stick) whisk. Allow to cool slightly. Smear the top of the cake very lightly with a small amount of the filling. Cover the other cake with the filling. Then place the first cake on the top. Sprinkle the butterscotch chips over the top. (They should stick to the cake). Finally, dust the top with icing sugar.”
Grandma’s 3 tips for a perfect sponge cake :
1. Have all the ingredients at room temperature before mixing.
2. Make sure the butter is soft before adding the sugar.
3. The mixture should be a ‘dropping’ consistency so it falls off the spoon.
What is Butterscotch?
Originally used as a treatment for invalids, Butterscotch is made from butter and brown sugar. It’s similar to toffee but is cooked to a ‘soft’ crack rather than a ‘hard’ crack’ and has become very popular in America for cake fillings.  The original Royal Doncaster Butterscotch was by appointment to the Royal Household so provides a fitting local tribute to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. 

60 years ago, tea was rationed till 1952 and sugar till 1953, so it’s not hard to see why many of Grandma’s recipes use less sugar. In 1953 when the coronation took place, sugar and butter rations were doubled for a short while so people could enjoy a Coronation bake. All food rationing ended in July 1954. 
How are you celebrating the Diamond Jubilee? Have you got a celebration recipe?



Thursday, 24 May 2012

Proud of Doncaster


Butterscotch Tarte 
Every area has its own special attractions which have come about for all sorts of reasons. My town, Doncaster UK is famous for its fantastic award winning Doncaster Market where you can get fabulous meat, fish, fruit and vegetables and prize winning  Toppings Pies, on sale in London’s Harrods and Harvey Nichols. And of course the famous Doncaster Royal Butterscotch.  
Butterscotch is credited with being invented in Doncaster in the 19th century by grocer and tea dealer, Samuel Parkinson who had a shop in the High Street, near to the famous Mansion House which is now The Georgian Tea Room. Doncaster Butterscotch was by appointment to the Royal Household. It’s a real Doncaster gem. I’ve crafted various recipes from Grandma’s collection to celebrate Butterscotch.

Grandma Abson’s Butterscotch Tarte
Shortcrust pastry with egg 
4 oz(110g) butter
8 oz (225g) plain flour
Salt
1 egg
A little water (or a little milk and water)

Rub the butter into the flour and salt. When the mixture is like breadcrumbs, make a well and add the egg. Add the water to make a dough. Let it stand for ½ hour in a cool place before rolling out. 

Bake it Blind
Roll out the pastry and line a 9 inch flan dish with the pastry.   Line the pastry with baking paper and cover this with dried beans or peas.  Bake the flan for 20 minutes and then remove the paper. This is called ‘Baking it blind’.  Keep the beans or peas to reuse. Allow to cool. Prepare the filling.

Butterscotch Filling 
7 oz (200g) butter
7 oz (200g) demerara sugar
4 oz (110g) flour (or cornflour)
8 fl oz (250ml) milk
Butterscotch chips


Melt the butter and sugar in a pan (preferably non stick) and stir over a low heat for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the flour a little at a time, adding the milk alternately. Stir well, using a non stick whisk if available. Allow to cool slightly. Pour into the flan dish and leave to set a little. Sprinkle the butterscotch chips over the top.
In fact, we’re very proud of Doncaster and we keep shouting about it by tweeting #doncasterisgreat. We have a regular trade fair to showcase local goods and services and promote businesses. I took Grandma Abson’s Traditional baking books to sell and they sold like hot cakes!

I’ve discovered that there’s a suburb in Melbourne, Australia called Doncaster. It’s locally known as ‘Donny’ and is situated on the top of a hill called Doncaster Hill.  I'm wondering if they have Butterscotch? Perhaps if you are reading this, you’ll let me know…

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Getting the Baking bug

Meryl at Cook N Dine
Who can resist the smell of home made baking straight out of the oven? Well, the customers and staff at Cook 'N' Dine Lakeside Village, Doncaster certainly couldn’t on a cold and drizzly May Bank Holiday Monday. Cook ‘N’ Dine, a store in the Sinclairs group is an amazing emporium of everything you need to get baking as well as a wide range of cookware, china, dinnerware and glassware.
The staff had worked hard to set up a wonderful welcome with window displays, posters and an area with oven and hob and lots of equipment, so I could show everyone how easy it was to mix up simple ingredients to bake wonderful cakes, buns and scones, all from a few things in your kitchen cupboard. I recreated some of Grandma’s signature afternoon tea time recipes 
Scrumptious Scones
Butterscotch Cake 
I’ve created this from Grandma’s cake recipes for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.  
Best of all was talking to the customers who came into the store, attracted by the wonderful baking aromas. We chatted about Grandma’s baking and I passed on simple tips from Grandma’s book. 

Within minutes of getting each of the finished products out of the oven, there was nothing left but a few crumbs! What a great experience to share the joys of Grandma’s home made baking. I can’t wait to do it again! 

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Bring out the best china

Grandma’s Afternoon tea cake stand
A couple of weeks ago, we went to visit the home of Britain’s best loved china, the Wedgwood Museum. I used to go to the Potteries to see my cousins who lived in Stoke on Trent when they were young but I hadn’t been there for many years as they had left that area a long time ago. So this was a journey back in time. I always like to display Grandma’s cakes and biscuits on pretty plates. I still have her 3 tiered cake stand as you can see which was made in the Potteries. It’s just the thing to show off afternoon tea time treats with from the top Coffee Cake, Fruit Harvo on the middle tier, Coconut Fingers and Butter Biscuits at the bottom. 
Fruit Harvo found its way to Nigella Lawson's website 
Coconut Fingers 
4 oz butter
4 oz sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
4 oz plain flour
¼ oz baking powder
6 oz coconut

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, flour and baking powder. Then add the coconut. Mix well and bake in a flat tin in a quick oven for 20-25 minutes. (375F, Mark 5, 190C) Cut them into fingers while they are still warm, and then leave to cool in the tin.
MS Cake Break is all about raising funds to support research for people affected by  Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I’ve been doing ‘Talk and taste’ sessions about Grandma’s baking to raise money for this important charity. 
I did a Meet the Author’ event at Sheffield Central Library.  It’s great fun as everyone always enjoys talking about and tasting traditional homemade baking.

Get busy baking, bring out your best china, make a cake from Grandma's collection and join thousands of others for Cake Break events. Let me know what you bake!