This recipes comes from a box of recipe cards I got from a charity shop in Camden for £3 called Alison Burt’s Super Saving Cookery Cards, published by Hamlyn in 1975. I was in two minds about buying them as I’d been at the car boot previously and had a lot to carry home already. But, heck, I’m glad I made the effort, as they’re kind of amazing. It’s a collection of around 200 cards, divided into categories like Budget Entertaining, Oriental Cookery, Scones and Teabreads, Ice Cream Desserts. The recipes are mainly quite sensible but some of them are wonderfully tacky in a vaguely Abigail’s Party way (Kipper Pizza, anyone?), and all of them are depicted on the front of the recipe card with a picture, occasionally featuring some odd set dressing (Dutch macaroons are displayed in tiny ceramic clogs and arranged around a windmill). I haven’t found much online about Alison Burt – Alibris have a few cookery titles by someone of the same name, looks like she did a few cookery titles. There’s enough intriguing recipes in this box to keep anyone going for a lifetime, but I decided to make something from the Special Cakes section:
100g castor sugar
2 eggs, beaten
100g self-raising flour
1 level tablespoon cocoa, sifted
1 tablespoon milk
3 tablespoons raspberry jam, sieved
50g plain chocolate
150g icing sugar
angelica for decoration
Grease 2 7inch round shallow cake tins and line the bases with greased greaseproof paper. Cream the margarine and castor sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour and fold in with a tablespoon. Divide the mixture in half. Add cocoa and milk to one half. Put one mixture in each tin. Bake in a moderate oven (350F, 180C, Mark 4) for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cut a 5 inch round from the centre of each cake. Cut a 3 inch round from the centre of the small rounds. Transfer the 5 inch chocolate ring to the plain cake and the plain one to the chocolate cake. Reassemble both cakes, sticking them together with raspberry jam. Sandwich the cakes with more raspberry jam. Make the icing. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Cool. Beat the margarine and sifted icing sugar. Add the chocolate. Decorate as illustrated.
- OK, so the amounts specified in no way yield the size of cake this is supposed to make. I got two sponge disks which were about half an inch thick. Working on the assumption that the cake shown in the picture is 7″ in diameter I estimate its depth at around 2.5-3″. Mine was around 1″ tall, and as you can see, hardly looks like the picture. Good thing I have no pretence of professionalism, or I’d have to contact Cake Wrecks and confess.
- I used water instead of milk.
- I used a martini glass, and a small wine glass to cut the circles from the cakes. This worked ok as the sponge was thin but I’m not sure how I would have done it neatly with a thicker cake to cut.
- I stupidly forgot to jam the pieces together. I’m a seasoned warmer of jam, and was quite looking forward to heating up some jam for gluing, but totally forgot this step. I’m not sure it would have worked that well anyway, as the sponge was very crumbly.
- I substituted cocoa for the plain chocolate in the icing as I had accidentally eaten the chocolate I bought for this purpose, only minutes before. Oops.
- I always get icing wrong, so I went a bit ‘off-recipe’ with the quantities here. I am not convinced by margarine in icing though.
- I tried to ‘decorate as illustrated’ but 1) I do not have a piping bag, and 2) it’s rather hard to do anything with a cake that’s just an inch high.
- I am not sure where the angelica was supposed to go. Whatever, I had none anyway.
This cake could be really excellent with a few tweaks – an easy way to make something that looks kind of impressive. HOWEVER this recipe is screwed – double the quantities (at least) for the sponge and then maybe you’ll be onto something. Some flavouring could be good too – chocolate cake is lovely, but this is a marg heavy cake and some mint or citrus tones could help even things out. It tasted very average, and I am not exactly excited about eating the rest.
Iced by Alix