Aunty Hilda introduced me to ‘The Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady‘ by Edith Holden, when I was 7-years-old. Written in 1906, yet released in 1977, the book is published in Ms Holden’s own handwriting and contains her experiences of the effects of the changing seasons on flora and fauna in the Warwickshire countryside. It is beautifully illustrated by the author and contains poems. Aunty Hilda would read extracts out to me whilst we sat in her conservatory having afternoon tea. Within this book, she would press any flowers or leaves that she or I had found.
I wanted to include her favourite cake in my collection, as every time I make it, I remember her; very much the well-read, elegant lady.
170g (6oz) butter * 170g (6oz) caster sugar * 3 eggs * 225g (8oz) self-raising flour * 1 tsp baking powder * 1 tbsp whole milk * 55g (2oz) chopped almonds * 115g (4oz) currants * 115g (4oz) sultanas * 1 orange, grated zest * 1 lemon, grated zest * 4 tbsp milk * 30g (1oz) whole almonds
Grease and line an 20cm/8inch cake tin with greaseproof paper. Cream together the butter and the sugar. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and incorporate little by little with a hand whisk. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold gently until uniform.
Add the chopped almonds, the dried fruit and zest into the cake batter. Add the milk. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, flatten and arrange the almonds on the top in a circle. Place a circle of greaseproof paper loosely over the top. Pre-heat the oven and bake at 140°C/275°C/Gas 1 for 1½ hours, until browned. Leave to cool before turning out and serve.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book, FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
There are more recipes in the section TRADITIONAL PUDDINGS, a selection of the best of British cakes and desserts.