Taking a leaf out of Graham Walmsley's book (the upcoming "A Taste For Murder"), I've decided that it might be nice to pop some cake recipes up here for your perusal. Cake is vitally important to any Victorian game, as is tea. But I don't have any tea recipes, although should you find yourself in Toronto, there's a superb tea shop called All Things Tea we would highly recommend (especially their Belgian Chocolate one, its scrummy).
So, first recipe: This one is from the recipe sheet available from Heatherslaw Mill in Northumberland. Should you be in the area, the mill is well worth a visit and has a nice little shop selling all sorts of flour and cooking ingredients as well as the usual tourist tat. I've actually made this cake several times and its rather nice.
Heatherslaw's Carrot Cake:
6oz (170g) Heatherslaw wholemeal flour (although any good quality organic wholemeal will do)
4oz (115g) grated carrot
4oz (115g) margarine (or butter substitute, which usually tastes nicer)
4oz (115g) soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon of milk
2.5 level teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional, allegedly, but it does work very nicely in this cake)
Grated zest of half an orange
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 160C/325F/Gas mark 3
2. Sift baking powder, salt, cinnamon and flour into a small bowl, mix well and add the grated carrot. Mix again
3. Cream the margarine and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, then add the orange zest. (Try to resist eating the butter/sugar mix; my Nana always swore it was good for sore throats, but no matter how tempting, you need it for the cake)
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. Spoon in a little of the flour mixture to stop it from curdling. (To be on the safe side, I always add a little flour before I start adding the eggs, which I always crack into a cup to make sure they're fresh first)
4. Gradually mix in the rest of the flour, then add the milk a little at a time until the mixture is soft but not runny. (You may need more milk, or less, but be careful with this step or you'll end up with icky goop)
5. Place in a six-inch (approx. 15cm) cake tin which has been greased and lined with greaseproof paper
6. Bake at the above temperature for forty-five to sixty minutes. (To see if its cooked, insert a clean skewer in the centre of the cake: if it comes out clean, the cake is done; if there's cake mix on it, it needs a bit longer)
7. Cool on a wire rack, then scoff it.
You could add icing or butter-cream to the top, but that would make it very naughty indeed. I've never tried that, so I don't have a recipe for it. There is one here, though, but I've no idea how good it is. Apparently you can add flavourings to it instead of/as well as the vanilla; orange might be nice, say some Grand Marnier...