Category Archives: Cakes and Cupcakes

Country Farmhouse Crumb Cake

Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

This old-fashioned country farmhouse crumb cake has been a recipe in my family for years. It quite resembles a coffee cake and is a hearty dessert that is tasty and not too sweet. Its crumb topping adds a lovely texture element to the cake.

Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

Crumb cake is quite economical to make because it just takes basic pantry supplies and draws its flavour from the cinnamon and cloves.  It’s always good to have a recipe that, if need be, can be quickly made without a special trip to the supermarket for ingredients.

I think this used to be a very popular cake in the country because it was a hearty dessert, it was not costly or difficult to make, and it did not require frosting.  For many farm wives who often had large families to bring up while working alongside their husbands on the farm, this would have been a relatively easy-to-come-by dessert. This crumb cake is particularly tasty with a cup of tea or coffee.

Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

The cake has a lovely tender crumb with an airy texture. To dress up this cake, sprinkle with a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar (aka icing or powdered sugar)

Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

 

Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Country Farmhouse Crumb Cake

Ingredients:

1 tbsp vinegar
1 cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup cold shortening

½ tsp salt
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup raisins

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare 9”x9” square baking pan by greasing or lining with parchment paper.

In 1 cup measuring cup, place 1 tbsp vinegar.  Fill cup with milk. Let stand 5-7 minutes to sour.

Meanwhile, in large bowl of stand mixer, combine the flour and brown sugar.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening.  Remove 1 cup of crumb mixture and set aside.

Add the salt, cloves, and cinnamon to the remaining mixture in the bowl. Stir well.

Stir the milk-vinegar mixture and transfer to small bowl.  Add the baking soda and beaten egg.  Stir. Pour over dry ingredients in bowl. With mixer on low/stir setting, incorporate the ingredients for 15 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium low and beat mixture for an additional minute. Stir in the raisins.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread evenly. Spread the reserved crumb mixture evenly over cake. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely before cutting and serving.  Cut cooled cake into 16 pieces. Dust with confectioner’s sugar (powdered icing sugar), if desired.

Yield: 16 servings

Farmhouse Crumb Cake
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Country Farmhouse Crumb Cake

Old-fashioned easy-to-make crumb cake uses standard pantry supplies. Flavored with cinnamon and cloves and dotted with raisins, this cake has a lovely tender crumb.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup cold shortening
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup raisins
  • Confectioner's sugar for dusting (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 9”x9” square baking pan by greasing or lining with parchment paper.
  2. In 1-cup measuring cup, place 1 tbsp vinegar. Fill cup with milk. Let stand 5-7 minutes to sour.
  3. Meanwhile, in large bowl of stand mixer, combine the flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening. Remove 1 cup of crumb mixture and set aside.
  4. Add the salt, cloves, and cinnamon to the remaining mixture in the bowl. Stir well.
  5. Stir the milk-vinegar mixture and transfer to small bowl. Add the baking soda and beaten egg. Stir. Pour over dry ingredients in bowl. With mixer on low/stir setting, incorporate the ingredients for 15 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium low and beat mixture for an additional minute. Stir in the raisins.

  6. Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread evenly. Spread the reserved crumb mixture evenly over cake. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely before cutting and serving. Cut cooled cake into 16 pieces. Dust with confectioner’s sugar (powdered icing sugar), if desired.

 

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Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

 

Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

Sultana Cake Recipe

Sultana Cake
Sultana Cake

Sultana Cake, believed to be of British/Scottish origins, is so named because sultana raisins are the main ingredient.  Often served at tea time, this unfrosted cake is a cross between a war cake, a Dundee cake, and a fruitcake. More sweet than a war cake and definitely less rich than a traditional fruitcake, this is a hearty, stick-to-the-ribs, kind of cake. Unlike a fruitcake, liquor is not common in a Sultana Cake.

Traditionally, I believe, Sultana Cake only had the raisins and maybe some nuts in it. My recipe, however, is slightly more luxurious with the addition of currants along with some glazed cherries and mixed fruit though the raisins are still the main ingredient.

Sultana Cake
Sultana Cake

This is a much easier and quicker cake to make than is a fruitcake.  There is no need to soak the fruit in liquor for a day or two before making the cake.  Essentially, the raisins, currants, glazed cherries, and mixed fruit are dredged with 1/2 cup of the flour just before they are added to the batter to prevent them from dropping to the bottom of the cake during baking. I like to add some grated orange and lemon rind for extra flavour.

The butter should be softened at room temperature (not microwaved) for about 45 minutes or so before creaming.  Microwaving the butter changes its consistency and it is more liquified.  Butter that is softened naturally at room temperature is much creamier and fluffs better when beaten with the sugar. Yes, that lovely fluffy texture of the butter and sugar is what results in a soft even crumb in cakes.

The eggs and milk should be at room temperature for about 30 minutes or so before mixing in to the batter.  The eggs need to be at roughly the same room temperature as the butter. If the eggs are cold and hit the soft warm butter, guess what? The eggs harden the butter again and this will un-do all the lovely creaming that has been done and will affect the cake’s texture, creating a dense hard crumb.  The same holds true for the milk which also needs to be at room temperature to allow it to blend smoothly into the butter-sugar-egg mixture.  Ever see cold milk poured into the cake batter that immediately looks lumpy or curdled?  This can result in uneven baked products.

Sultana Cakes are traditionally made in round baking pans.  My recipe calls for a 10″ round tube (funnel) pan that is 4″ deep. It has a 16-cup capacity so there is adequate room for the cake to expand as it bakes. Tube pans are great for dense cakes as they provide more uniform baking.  With dense cakes, like Sultana Cake, it is sometimes difficult to get the outer edges of the cake and the center evenly baked at the same time. Removing the “center” of the cake eliminates this problem. Some pans have a removable bottom and these are very useful when it comes to removing the cake from the pan.  I line the bottom of the pan with a layer of parchment and then spray the sides of the pan with cooking spray.

Placing a small pan of water on the bottom shelf, or floor, of the oven while the cake bakes helps to keep the cake moist. If the cake starts to brown too much, loosely tent it with tin foil.

Sultana Cake
Sultana Cake

Unlike a fruitcake that needs to age three to four weeks before serving so flavours are deepened, a Sultana Cake does not need to age. That said, I usually do wrap and leave my Sultana Cake for 48-72 hours before cutting.

This is a delightful anytime cake although I often make it around Christmas.  It’s a perfect alternative for anyone who finds fruitcake just a little too rich for their palate. It’s especially nice with a lovely cup of tea.

This cake freezes very well.

Sultana Cake
Sultana Cake
[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Sultana Cake

Ingredients:

1 lb sultana raisins
¼ lb currants
8 oz red and green glazed cherries
8 oz. mixed glazed fruit

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1¾ cups brown sugar packed
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon flavoring
1½ tsp grated orange rind
1½ tsp grated lemon rind

3½ cups all-purpose flour (reserve ½ cup for dredging the fruit)
1¼ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt

1 cup milk, room temperature

Method:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 4” deep 10” round tube (funnel) pan with cooking spray and line bottom with parchment paper.

In large bowl, mix the raisins, currants, glazed cherries, and mixed fruit.  Dredge with ½ cup of the flour called for in the recipe.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat at medium-high speed for one additional minute. Add the vanilla and lemon flavoring and mix well. Add the grated orange and lemon rind. Mix well.

Sift remaining 3 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt together.  Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat at medium-high speed for 1 additional minute. Add the floured fruit mixture and stir just until ingredients are combined.

Spoon batter into prepared pan, using knife to smooth top.  Place small pan of hot water on lower shelf, or floor, of oven to provide moisture to the cake as it bakes.  Bake cake in center of middle rack for approximately 2½ hours or until cake tester inserted in or near centre of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for about 30 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on a tea towel and removing the paper.  Carefully turn the cake top side up on to a wire cooling rack.

Yield:  One 10” round cake

Sultana Cake
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Sultana Cake

Less sweet than a fruitcake, this Sultana Cake, enhanced with glazed fruit, is moist and flavorful.


Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sultana raisins
  • ¼ lb currants
  • 8 oz red and green glazed cherries
  • 8 oz. mixed glazed fruit
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • cups brown sugar packed
  • 5 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp lemon flavoring
  • tsp grated orange rind
  • tsp grated lemon rind
  • cups all-purpose flour reserve ½ cup for dredging the fruit
  • tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk room temperature

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 4” deep 10” round tube (funnel) pan with cooking spray and line bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, mix the raisins, currants, glazed cherries, and mixed fruit. Dredge with ½ cup of the flour called for in the recipe. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat at medium-high speed for one additional minute. Add the vanilla and lemon flavoring and mix well. Add the grated orange and lemon rind. Mix well.
  4. Sift remaining 3 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat at medium-high speed for 1 additional minute. Add the floured fruit mixture and stir just until ingredients are combined.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared pan, using knife to smooth top. Place small pan of hot water on lower shelf, or floor, of oven to provide moisture to the cake as it bakes. Bake cake in center of middle rack for approximately 2½ hours or until cake tester inserted in or near centre of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for about 30 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on a tea towel and removing the paper. Carefully turn the cake top side up on to a wire cooling rack.

 

Sultana Cake
Sultana Cake
Sultana Cake, so named because sultana raisins are a key ingredient, is a lovely moist cake that is a cross between a warcake and a fruitcake.
Sultana Cake

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake Recipe

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake

This posting contains my newly-developed recipe for gluten free light fruitcake.

This cake is so tasty that it’s hard to tell it is actually gluten free!  The flours I use in this recipe are the one-to-one gluten free flour along with almond flour and coconut flour that add lovely flavour and texture to the cake batter.

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake

As always, ensure that all ingredients (not just the flours) called for in the recipe are indeed gluten free and have not been cross contaminated with products containing gluten.

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake

Rather than rewrite all the tips I have for making fruitcakes, I am directing readers to my previous postings for dark fruitcake and light fruitcake. While these two recipes are for regular fruitcakes that are not gluten free, the tips I have provided in those postings apply equally to this gluten free version of a fruitcake.

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-Free Light Fruitcake

Ingredients:

¼ lb golden sultana raisins
1½ oz green glazed cherries
2½ oz red glazed cherries
1½ oz glazed pineapple rings, chopped
3 oz mixed glazed fruit
2 tbsp citron
3 tbsp brandy
3 tbsp flaked coconut
½ tsp finely grated lemon rind
½ tsp finely grated orange rind

¼ cup butter, softened at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, separated
¼ tsp pure vanilla
¼ tsp almond flavoring
¼ tsp lemon flavoring
3 tbsp applesauce

¾ cup one-to-one gluten-free flour
1½ tbsp almond flour
1 tbsp coconut flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp zanthan gum
Pinch salt

1½ tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp brandy

Few glazed cherries for cake top decoration (optional)
Extra brandy for brushing on cake as it ages and for soaking cheesecloth in which to wrap the cake

Method:

In medium-sized bowl, combine the raisins, cherries, glazed pineapple, mixed glazed fruit, and citron. Mix well.  Stir in the three tablespoons of brandy to coat the fruit.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for about 24 hours to macerate the fruit, stirring occasionally. When ready to mix up the cake, add the coconut and grated lemon and orange rind.  Stir well.

Prepare 6-inch square fruitcake pan that is at least 2¼” deep and has a removable bottom:  Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray.  Line the pan (bottom and sides), with brown paper or double thickness of parchment paper.  Lightly spray the paper.

Preheat oven to 275°F.

In medium-sized bowl, and using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until mixture is light and creamy. Separate eggs and set aside the whites. Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter and sugar, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure ingredients are all incorporated. Beat 1 additional minute. Beat in the vanilla, almond, and lemon flavorings.  Stir in the applesauce.

Remove 3 tbsp of the one-to-one gluten free flour from the ¾-cup called for in the recipe and set aside to flour the fruit.  Sift the remaining one-to-one gluten free flour, almond flour, and coconut flour together with the baking powder, zanthan gum, and salt.

In measuring cup or small bowl, combine the orange and lemon juices along with the two tablespoons of brandy.

Add the dry and wet ingredients to the beaten butter-sugar-egg mixture in three additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Transfer batter to a larger bowl, big enough to accommodate the amount of fruit to be added.

Sprinkle reserved 3 tablespoons of the one-to-one gluten free flour over the macerated fruit to which the coconut and grated lemon and orange rind have been added. Toss ingredients lightly and quickly.  Gently fold the fruit mixture into the batter.

In clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.

Transfer batter by large spoonfuls into the prepared baking pan.  Use a knife to evenly spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top.  Add a few glazed cherries as decorations to the top of the cake, if desired.

Place small pan of hot water on the lower rack in the oven.  Place fruitcake in center of middle rack and bake for approximately 1¼ – 1½ hours, or until cake is firm to the touch and cake tester inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. After about 35-40 minutes or so of baking, loosely tent cake with tin foil to prevent it from browning too much. When cake is baked, remove from oven and place on rack.  Let cake cool in pan for about 40 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on to a tea towel and removing the paper.  Carefully turn the cake, top side up, on to a wire cooling rack.

Let cake cool completely before brushing well with brandy and wrapping in brandy-soaked cheesecloth, followed by plastic wrap and tin foil. Store in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, dry area.  Remove wrapping and brush cake top and sides with brandy once a week for 2-3 weeks, as the cake “ages”, before cutting and serving. After cake has aged 2-3 weeks, it is recommended to refrigerate the cake or, if not using in near future, freeze it.

Yield:  1 – 2 lb cake (apx. weight)

NOTE:  As always, ensure that all ingredients used in the recipe are, in fact, gluten free.

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake Recipe

Yield: 1 - 2 lb cake (apx. weight)

A gluten free light fruitcake that is studded with a mixture of brandy-soaked glazed fruit baked within a batter made with gluten free one-to-one flour, almond flour, and coconut flour.

Ingredients

  • ¼ lb golden sultana raisins
  • 1½ oz green glazed cherries
  • 2½ oz red glazed cherries
  • 1½ oz glazed pineapple rings, chopped
  • 3 oz mixed glazed fruit
  • 2 tbsp citron
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 3 tbsp flaked coconut
  • ½ tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • ½ tsp finely grated orange rind
  • ¼ cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla
  • ¼ tsp almond flavoring
  • ¼ tsp lemon flavoring
  • 3 tbsp applesauce
  • ¾ cup one-to-one gluten-free flour
  • 1½ tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp zanthan gum
  • Pinch salt
  • 1½ tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • Few glazed cherries for cake top decoration (optional)
  • Extra brandy for brushing on cake as it ages and for soaking cheesecloth in which to wrap the cake

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized bowl, combine the raisins, cherries, glazed pineapple, mixed glazed fruit, and citron. Mix well. Stir in the three tablespoons of brandy to coat the fruit. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for about 24 hours to macerate the fruit, stirring occasionally. When ready to mix up the cake, add the coconut and grated lemon and orange rind. Stir well.
  2. Prepare 6-inch square fruitcake pan that is at least 2¼” deep and has a removable bottom: Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray. Line the pan (bottom and sides), with brown paper or double thickness of parchment paper. Lightly spray the paper.
  3. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  4. In medium-sized bowl, and using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until mixture is light and creamy. Separate eggs and set aside the whites. Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter and sugar, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure ingredients are all incorporated. Beat 1 additional minute. Beat in the vanilla, almond, and lemon flavorings. Stir in the applesauce.
  5. Remove 3 tbsp of the one-to-one gluten free flour from the ¾-cup called for in the recipe and set aside to flour the fruit. Sift the remaining one-to-one gluten free flour, almond flour, and coconut flour together with the baking powder, zanthan gum, and salt.
  6. In measuring cup or small bowl, combine the orange and lemon juices along with the two tablespoons of brandy.
  7. Add the dry and wet ingredients to the beaten butter-sugar-egg mixture in three additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Transfer batter to a larger bowl, big enough to accommodate the amount of fruit to be added.
  8. Sprinkle reserved 3 tablespoons of the one-to-one gluten free flour over the macerated fruit to which the coconut and grated lemon and orange rind have been added. Toss ingredients lightly and quickly. Gently fold the fruit mixture into the batter.
  9. In clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.
  10. Transfer batter by large spoonfuls into the prepared baking pan. Use a knife to evenly spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top. Add a few glazed cherries as decorations to the top of the cake, if desired.
  11. Place small pan of hot water on the lower rack in the oven. Place fruitcake in center of middle rack and bake for approximately 1¼ - 1½ hours, or until cake is firm to the touch and cake tester inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. After about 35-40 minutes or so of baking, loosely tent cake with tin foil to prevent it from browning too much. When cake is baked, remove from oven and place on rack. Let cake cool in pan for about 40 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on to a tea towel and removing the paper. Carefully turn the cake, top side up, on to a wire cooling rack.
  12. Let cake cool completely before brushing well with brandy and wrapping in brandy-soaked cheesecloth, followed by plastic wrap and tin foil. Store in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, dry area. Remove wrapping and brush cake top and sides with brandy once a week for 2-3 weeks, as the cake “ages”, before cutting and serving. After cake has aged 2-3 weeks, it is recommended to refrigerate the cake or, if not using in near future, freeze it.

Notes

NOTE: As always, ensure that all ingredients used in the recipe are, in fact, gluten free.

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Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake studded with glazed fruit and flavored with brandy

Gluten-Free Queen Elizabeth Cake

Gluten-free Queen Elizabeth Cake
Gluten-free Queen Elizabeth Cake

In an earlier posting, I shared my recipe for the regular gluten version of Queen Elizabeth Cake to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s actual birthday on April 21st.  Today, I have a special treat for my food blog followers who must follow a gluten-free diet! I have adapted my regular version of this cake to make it gluten-free.  It has passed my testing standards so I am pleased to share the recipe for this wonderfully moist and tasty Queen Elizabeth Cake that is made with very simple, basic ingredients. In fact, I’d even go so far as to suggest that it would be quite difficult to be able to tell that this version is gluten-free and, in my view, it certainly rivals its gluten version cousin in taste, texture, and overall quality.

I am timing the original publication of this gluten-free Queen Elizabeth Cake recipe with the annual Trooping of the Colour celebrations celebrated in London in June of each year. The Trooping of the Colour, a major military ceremony filled with pomp and pageantry, is often referred to as the Queen’s Birthday Parade. This tradition is said to have started in 1748 when then King George II decided to combine his birthday parade with the annual spring military parade in June because he apparently felt his actual November birthday was too cold to have a birthday parade. This tradition has endured since then, regardless when the reigning monarch’s actual birthday is and this event is considered the official celebration of the sovereign’s birthday. Held annually on a Saturday in June, the Queen attends, arriving by horse and carriage from Buckingham Palace and traveling along the Mall to the Horse Guard’s Parade behind Whitehall.

The colorful display of pageantry involves several hundred officers and men, horses, and bands.  The Queen takes the salute and inspects the troops dressed in ceremonial uniform.  “Colours” refers to the regimental flags of the various troops and the colours correspond to the colours and insignia of the uniforms of the soldiers of the different units. The colours (flags) served a purpose on the battlefields as they provided a rallying or gathering point for troops and hence the title “trooping of the colours”.

London Pagentry
London Pagentry

So, thus ends the brief history lesson!  Now, on to the Gluten-free Queen Elizabeth Cake, believed to have been named for either the Queen Mother or the reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.  When I earlier shared my recipe for the gluten version of this cake, I conducted some research to try and determine the origins of the cake and its name. Click here to read the information I was able to find about the different stories about the naming of this cake.

The texture of the gluten-free Queen Elizabeth Cake, like the gluten version, is somewhat dense and owes its lovely moist texture to the cooked dates. The combination of coconut and almond flours with the gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour are the key to this cake’s texture. The almond and coconut flours really do provide a pleasing flavor to the cake.

Gluten-free Queen Elizabeth Cake
Gluten-free Queen Elizabeth Cake

The following hints may be of use when making this cake:

  • This is a single layer cake. Use an 8” square baking pan to ensure this cake has a good height. A 9” square pan may be used but the cake will lack depth and more closely resemble a square as opposed to a cake. I find gluten-free flours take more leavening than gluten flours do and, even at that, it can still be difficult to get baked goods to rise to the height of a similar recipe that calls for gluten flour products. Grease the pan or line it with parchment paper or greased tin foil. Leaving an overhang of extra parchment paper or tin foil over the edge of the pan will make it easier to lift the entire baked cake from the pan and facilitate its  cutting.
  • Let the date mixture cool completely at room temperature before incorporating it with the dry ingredients. If it is mixed with the dry ingredients while the mixture is either hot or warm, it may result in a “gummy” texture or soggy cake.
  • Mix the wet and dry ingredients using the rule of 3 parts dry and 2 parts wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  • Mix the ingredients well but don’t beat them as this may create a “tough crumb” cake.
  • Use cream to make the topping. I used 35% cream which gives a luxurious topping but 18% cream may also be used.
  • Start checking the cake for doneness at the point where the cake has been baking for 25 minutes then, if it is not baked, check it every 3-4 minutes after. The cake will be done when the cake tester, inserted into the center of the cake, comes out completely clean and dry.
  • When the cake tests almost baked (about 5 minutes before it is expected to come out of the oven), start making the topping. It needs to go on the warm cake that will go back in the oven for 3-4 minutes after the topping has been added.
  • The topping, like making homemade fudge, can set up really fast. Don’t leave it unattended. Stir the ingredients as they boil gently for the 3 minutes. Watch it carefully and, if you see if starting to “set up” and thicken really fast (even if it is before the 3 minutes of boiling is up), remove it from the stove and quickly stir in the vanilla and coconut. The mixture should be of the consistency that it can be poured from the saucepan and spread over the cake with a knife. If it becomes too thick, it will be too sugary and won’t be of spreading consistency. It will also become brittle and crack.

[Printable version of the recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-Free Queen Elizabeth Cake

Ingredients:

¾ cup dates, chopped (apx. 4¼ oz)
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ cup boiling water

¾ cup of 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour
1/3 cup almond flour
2½ tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Pinch allspice
¼ cup butter, softened at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 extra large egg
¼ tsp orange extract
¾ tsp vanilla

Topping:
2½ tbsp melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
2¼ tbsp cream
¾ tsp vanilla
½ cup shredded coconut

Method:
Cake:
Place dates and soda in medium-sized saucepan.  Add the boiling water. Simmer for about 4-5 minutes then cool completely at room temperature.

Position oven rack in centre of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease 8” baking pan or line with parchment paper (or even greased tin foil).

Sift 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour, almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, salt, and spices together. Set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Beat in the egg, orange extract, and vanilla. Transfer mixture to cooled dates. Stir well.

Transfer one-third of the sifted dry ingredients to the mixer bowl.  Beat in one-half of the wet ingredients. Add another third of the dry ingredients. Blend well. Mix in the remainder of the wet ingredients.  Finish by incorporating the remaining dry ingredients. Mix well to combine. Don’t overmix.

Spread batter evenly in prepared baking pan.  Transfer to preheated oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven. Increase oven temperature to 400°F to prepare for browning of cake’s topping.

Topping:
About 5 minutes before the cake is due to be removed from the oven, begin to prepare the cake topping.  In medium-sized saucepan, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter.  Blend in the brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 3 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the vanilla and coconut. Pour and spread this mixture evenly over the warm cake and return it to the oven to brown slightly for 3-4 minutes. Remove cake from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Yield:  1 – 8” single layer cake

This cake is suitable as a snacking cake, dessert, tea cake, or even a picnic cake. The cake freezes well.

The Queen Elizabeth Cake pairs particularly well with a good cup of tea.  My recommendation for a tea pairing would be an Earl Grey blend.  The citrus notes in this black tea complement the sweetness of the cake. Earl Grey tea has a high concentration of tannins which makes it a suitable tea to cleanse the mouth after each bite of the cake so that each bite of this moist and flavorful cake is as equally tasty as the first!

Gluten-free Queen Elizabeth Cake
Gluten-free Queen Elizabeth Cake

Gluten-Free Queen Elizabeth Cake

Yield: 1 - 8" square single-layer cake

A moist and tasty gluten-free cake featuring dates, spices, and a toffee-like topping.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup dates, chopped (apx. 4¼ oz)
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • ¾ cup of 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 2½ tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch allspice
  • ¼ cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 extra large egg
  • ¼ tsp orange extract
  • ¾ tsp vanilla
  • Topping:
  • 2½ tbsp melted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2¼ tbsp cream
  • ¾ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. Cake:
  2. Place dates and soda in medium-sized saucepan. Add the boiling water. Simmer for about 4-5 minutes then cool completely at room temperature.
  3. Position oven rack in centre of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 8” baking pan or line with parchment paper (or even greased tin foil).
  4. Sift 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour, almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, salt, and spices together. Set aside.
  5. In bowl of stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, orange extract, and vanilla. Transfer mixture to cooled dates. Stir well.
  6. Transfer one-third of the sifted dry ingredients to the mixer bowl. Beat in one-half of the wet ingredients. Add another third of the dry ingredients. Blend well. Mix in the remainder of the wet ingredients. Finish by incorporating the remaining dry ingredients. Mix well to combine. Don’t overmix.
  7. Spread batter evenly in prepared baking pan. Transfer to preheated oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven. Increase oven temperature to 400°F to prepare for browning of cake’s topping.
  8. Topping:
  9. About 5 minutes before the cake is due to be removed from the oven, begin to prepare the cake topping. In medium-sized saucepan, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter. Blend in the brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 3 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the vanilla and coconut. Pour and spread this mixture evenly over the warm cake and return it to the oven to brown slightly for 3-4 minutes. Remove cake from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely before cutting and serving.
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This gluten-free Queen Elizabeth Cake features dates, spices, and a delectable toffee-like topping

Gluten-free Queen Elizabeth Cake

Queen Elizabeth Cake Recipe

Ever wonder about the history of old vintage recipes?  I so wish that accurate records existed about the origins of some of the old nostalgic recipes like the one for Queen Elizabeth Cake, for example.

Queen Elizabeth Square
Queen Elizabeth Cake

This is one recipe that has some history to it but just how much is fact and how much is fable, myth, or folklore is up for certain debate.

Queen Elizabeth Cake is, next to a plain white vanilla or simple chocolate cake, probably one of the most basic, nondescript cakes you could come by. Made with a simple batter with some dates and mild spices mixed in, its glory comes from the topping made of butter, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and coconut that almost borders on toffee. Yes, this will remind you of a cold version of sticky date pudding.

Now, sometimes, you may see this referred to as Queen Elizabeth “Square” versus “Cake”. However, I think it most closely resembles a cake more so than a square. This is because the texture is light and tender, the crumb an even grain, and the body of the cake has a springiness to the touch. This is in contrast to what defines a typical square (or bars) – i.e., a dense texture and chewy consistency. I would class this cake as a hearty, substantial cake.

Queen Elizabeth Square
Queen Elizabeth Cake

So, just where and when did Queen Elizabeth Cake originate?  This is where fact and fiction intertwine and become somewhat blurry.  I did quite a bit of research on this cake. One intriguing story is that it is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s own recipe from which she made cakes herself and sold them for charitable purposes. This claim suggests the recipe originated in Buckingham Palace after the 1953 Coronation. I could find no information or evidence to substantiate this claim and neither could I find any reference to this history on the Buckingham Palace website.

In the June 1953 issue of the Canadian magazine, Chatelaine, a recipe for Queen Elizabeth II Cake was published. Chatelaine’s April 20, 2016, online posting which shared a photo of the 1953 published recipe claims it “was created specifically for the Queen’s Coronation” but gives no indication of who the actual creator was or any detail about how or why the specific ingredients were chosen.

Other information suggests the cake may have been created much earlier to commemorate Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother’s popularity and her historic visit with her husband, King George VI, to Canada in 1939.

Yet, other information suggests the cake was appearing in local community cookbooks in the 1940s when it was known as “Princess Elizabeth Cake” and there is suggestion that the name may have been changed to “Queen Elizabeth Cake” after the 1953 Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

So, all this to say, I could not definitively, with any degree of accuracy, determine the exact origins of this cake. I do personally recall childhood memories of this cake appearing at community and church events in the 1960s and 1970s in the part of Prince Edward Island in which I grew up.  Plates of sweets inevitably always had this cake on it, although I believe it was referred to as Queen Elizabeth “Square”.  I am reasonably certain of the specific ladies who would, most likely, have been the makers of this cake but they have, unfortunately, all passed on, taking with them whatever memories they may have had associated with the Queen Elizabeth Cake/Square.

Queen Elizabeth Cake
Queen Elizabeth Cake

Granted, I’ll admit the Queen Elizabeth Cake is not the most attractive cake but, boy oh boy, do the flavor, moist texture, and the kicker topping more than make up for it! This is one cake that, as the old saying goes, you ought not judge the book by the cover!  While this is not a cake that my mother made, she does have it in a handwritten recipe “scribbler” that was started in 1963. There is no indication on the handwritten recipe whose it was or where it came from. It cryptically lists the ingredients but contains no method, baking pan size, or baking temperature. This is typical because cooks, in years gone by, simply knew how to pull together a cake and, from whomever the recipe was gotten, it was probably baked in the cook’s wood stove oven (I’ll never know how they regulated the temperature in those). My mother says the cake was probably popular because it needed no frosting/icing since the topping is the “dressing” on the cake.

Queen Elizabeth Cake
Queen Elizabeth Cake

I have taken the basic recipe, adapted some of the ingredients and proportions, added some additional flavoring and spices (the recipe I adapted this one from had no spices listed) and tested the recipe out using different baking pan sizes, writing down the instructions as I worked. What has resulted is this recipe for one of the most tasty tray/slab cakes imaginable given that it is made with such simple, basic kitchen staple ingredients.

Some tips on making Queen Elizabeth Cake:

  • You may think there isn’t enough batter for a 9”x13” cake but there is – there is 1 teaspoon each of baking powder and soda so this cake will rise to a nice height in this size of pan. I tested it first in a 9″x9″ pan but found the cake was too tall in it.
  • The pan may be greased or it may be lined with parchment paper (or even greased tin foil). If using either of the latter, make sure you leave enough paper or tin foil overhang which can be used as “handles” to lift the cake out of the pan. Hint – This method makes both the cutting and removal of the cake from the pan easier than doing so while it is still in the pan.
  • Let the date mixture cool completely at room temperature. Adding it to the dry ingredients while it is either hot or warm can make for a “gummy” texture or soggy cake.
  • Mix the wet and dry ingredients using the rule of 3 parts dry and 2 parts wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  • Mix the ingredients well but don’t beat them as this may create a “tough crumb” cake.
  • Use cream to make the topping. I used 18% cream but 35% cream will create an even more luxurious topping (but also add a few more calories!).
  • Start checking the cake for doneness at the point where the cake has been baking for 30 minutes then, if it is not baked, check it every 4-5 minutes after. The cake will be done when the cake tester, inserted into the center of the cake, comes out completely clean and dry.
  • When the cake tests almost baked (about 5 minutes before it is expected to come out of the oven), start making the topping. It needs to go on the warm cake that will go back in the oven for 3-4 minutes after the topping has been added.
  • The topping is a little bit like making candy. It can set up really fast. Don’t leave it unattended. Stir the ingredients as they boil gently for the 3 minutes. Watch it carefully – if you see if starting to “set up” and thicken really fast (even if it is before the 3 minutes of boiling is up), remove it from the stove and stir in the vanilla and coconut. The mixture should be of the consistency that it can be poured from the saucepan and spread over the cake with a knife. If it becomes too thick, it will be too sugary and won’t be of spreading consistency.

Splendid, no matter its history or how it’s served, this cake pairs particularly well with a spot of tea…. perhaps Earl Grey blend.  This is a smooth black tea that has citrus notes that complement the sweetness of the cake. With its high concentration of tannins, it’s also a great tea to cleanse the mouth after each bite of the cake so that every bite of this moist and flavorful cake tastes as good as the first one!

Queen Elizabeth Square
Queen Elizabeth Cake

[Printable Recipe Follows at end of Posting]

Queen Elizabeth Cake

 Ingredients:
1 cup dates, chopped
1 tsp soda
1 cup boiling water

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Pinch allspice

¼ cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
¼ tsp orange extract
1 tsp vanilla

Topping:
3 tbsp melted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp cream (18%)
½ tsp vanilla
2/3 cup shredded coconut

Method:

Cake:

Place dates and soda in medium-sized saucepan.  Add the boiling water. Simmer for about 4-5 minutes then cool completely at room temperature.

Position oven rack in centre of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease 9”x13” baking pan or line with parchment paper (or even greased tin foil).

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and spices together. Set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Beat in the egg, orange extract, and vanilla. Transfer mixture to cooled dates. Stir well.

Transfer one-third of the sifted dry ingredients to the mixer bowl.  Beat in one-half of the wet ingredients. Add another third of the dry ingredients. Blend well. Mix in the remainder of the wet ingredients.  Finish by incorporating the remaining dry ingredients. Mix well to combine. Don’t overmix.

Spread batter evenly in prepared baking pan.  Transfer to preheated oven and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven.

Topping:

About 5 minutes before the cake is due to be removed from the oven, begin to prepare the cake topping.  In medium-sized saucepan, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter.  Blend in the brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 3 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the vanilla and coconut. Pour and spread this mixture evenly over the warm cake and return it to the oven to brown slightly for 3-4 minutes. Remove cake from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely before cutting and serving.

This cake freezes well.

Yield:  1 – 9”x13” single layer cake

Queen Elizabeth Cake

Yield: 1 - 9"x13" cake

This moist and flavorful cake is made with dates and spices and features a delectable toffee-like topping

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dates, chopped
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch allspice
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ tsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Topping:
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp cream (18%)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. Cake:
  2. Place dates and soda in medium-sized saucepan. Add the boiling water. Simmer for about 4-5 minutes then cool completely at room temperature.
  3. Position oven rack in centre of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9”x13” baking pan or line with parchment paper (or even greased tin foil).
  4. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and spices together. Set aside.
  5. In bowl of stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, orange extract, and vanilla. Transfer mixture to cooled dates. Stir well.
  6. Transfer one-third of the sifted dry ingredients to the mixer bowl. Beat in one-half of the wet ingredients. Add another third of the dry ingredients. Blend well. Mix in the remainder of the wet ingredients. Finish by incorporating the remaining dry ingredients. Mix well to combine. Don’t overmix.
  7. Spread batter evenly in prepared baking pan. Transfer to preheated oven and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven.
  8. Topping:
  9. About 5 minutes before the cake is due to be removed from the oven, begin to prepare the cake topping. In medium-sized saucepan, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter. Blend in the brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 3 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the vanilla and coconut. Pour and spread this mixture evenly over the warm cake and return it to the oven to brown slightly for 3-4 minutes. Remove cake from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Notes

Please refer to entire blog posting for hints and tips on making this cake.

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Queen Elizabeth Cake

Queen Elizabeth Cake

Festive Light Fruitcake Recipe

One of my favorite foods to make is the traditional fruitcake – both dark and light versions.  And, I adore the scent in my home as the cakes bake.  As I write this post, this is my 40th year making fruitcakes – where does the time go!  I don’t make both dark and light every year. Rather, I make a dark cake one year then, the following year, make a light cake.

Christmas Cake
Light Fruitcake

My Christmas season begins in early November when the first thing done to prepare for the holidays is to make the fruitcake.  Fruitcakes do well with some “ageing” before they are cut – about 3 weeks is the minimum they should age. This period allows the flavors to blend well and the cake to moisten which, of course, is always aided by a brushing of a weekly “nightcap” of whatever liquor is used in the cake.  I tend to put rum in my dark cakes and brandy in the light fruitcakes.  This libation not only helps to keep the cake moist but it also infuses flavor into the cake as it ages.

Christmas Cake
Light Fruitcake

Apart from their lighter color, light fruitcakes tend to be less rich and not quite as sweet as their dark counterparts.  The wonderful thing about light fruitcakes is that the light-colored batter allows the jewel-toned glazed fruit to show well.  Light fruitcake is both a flavorful and colorful addition to any holiday sweet tray.

Fruitcake
Light Fruitcake

When I posted my recipe awhile back for my dark fruit cake, I offered several tips and hints on how to make fruitcakes.  You can access that information by clicking here. The same tips and hints apply to light fruitcakes.

My version of a light fruitcake is nut-free. I find nuts can sometimes go rancid and can interfere with the nice soft texture of the fruitcake so I have long since dispensed with them in my cakes. As well, for any one with an allergy to nuts, a fruitcake with nuts would be off limits.

Christmas Cake
Jewel-toned Light Fruitcake

[Printable version of recipe follows at end of posting]

Light Fruit Cake

Ingredients:
1 lb golden sultana raisins
6 oz green glazed cherries
6 oz red glazed cherries
4 oz glazed pineapple rings, chopped
¾ lb mixed glazed fruit
¼ lb citron
½ cup brandy
¾ cup flaked coconut
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tsp finely grated orange rind

1 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1½ cup white sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 tsp almond flavoring
1 tsp lemon flavoring
½ cup crushed pineapple, drained very well (reserve ¼ cup of the juice)

3¾ cups all-purpose flour (set aside 1 cup of the flour to flour the fruit mixture)
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup pineapple juice (from the drained crushed pineapple)

Extra brandy for brushing on cake as it ages and for soaking cheesecloth in which to wrap the cake

Method:
In large bowl, combine the raisins, cherries, glazed pineapple, mixed glazed fruit, and citron. Mix well.  Stir in the brandy to coat the fruit.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for about 24 hours to macerate the fruit, stirring occasionally. When ready to mix up the cake, add the coconut and lemon and orange rind.  Stir well.

Prepare 8-inch square fruitcake pan that is 3 inches deep and has a removable bottom:  Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray.  Line the pan (bottom and sides), with brown paper or double thickness of parchment paper.  Lightly spray the paper.

Preheat oven to 275°F.

In large bowl of stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until mixture is light and creamy.  Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure ingredients are all incorporated. Beat 1 additional minute. Beat in the vanilla, almond, and lemon flavorings.  Stir in the drained crushed pineapple.

Sift together 2¾ cups of the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In measuring cup or small bowl, combine the orange and lemon juices along with the reserved ¼ cup of pineapple juice.

Add the dry and wet ingredients to the beaten butter and sugar mixture in three additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Transfer batter to a very large bowl.

Sprinkle reserved cup of flour over the macerated fruit and toss ingredients lightly and quickly.  Gently fold the fruit mixture into the batter.

In clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.

Transfer batter by large spoonfuls into the prepared baking pan.  Use a knife to evenly spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top.  Add a few cherries as decorations to the top of the cake, if desired.

Place small pan of hot water on the lower rack in the oven.  Place fruitcake in center of middle rack and bake for approximately 5 – 5¼ hours or until cake is firm to the touch and cake tester inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. After about an hour or so of baking, loosely tent cake with tin foil to prevent it from browning too much. Remove cake from oven and place on rack.  Let cake cool in pan for about 40 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on a tea towel and removing the paper.  Carefully turn the cake top side up on to a wire cooling rack.

Let cake cool completely before brushing well with brandy and wrapping in brandy-soaked cheesecloth, followed by plastic wrap and tin foil. Store in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, dry area.  Remove wrapping and brush cake top and sides with brandy once a week for 2-3 weeks as the cake “ages” before cutting and serving.

Yield:  1 – 6 lb, 6½ oz cake

Light Fruitcake

Yield: 1 – 6 lb, 6½ oz cake

A wonderful jewel-toned light fruitcake full of flavor and mixed fruit. (Cake is nut-free)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb golden sultana raisins
  • 6 oz green glazed cherries
  • 6 oz red glazed cherries
  • 4 oz glazed pineapple rings, chopped
  • ¾ lb mixed glazed fruit
  • ¼ lb citron
  • ½ cup brandy
  • ¾ cup flaked coconut
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1 cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1½ cup white sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond flavoring
  • 1 tsp lemon flavoring
  • ½ cup crushed pineapple, drained very well (reserve ¼ cup of the juice)
  • 3¾ cups all-purpose flour (set aside 1 cup of the flour to flour the fruit mixture)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice (from the drained crushed pineapple)
  • Extra brandy for brushing on cake as it ages and for soaking cheesecloth in which to wrap the cake

Instructions

  1. In large bowl, combine the raisins, cherries, glazed pineapple, mixed glazed fruit, and citron. Mix well. Stir in the brandy to coat the fruit. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for about 24 hours to macerate the fruit, stirring occasionally. When ready to mix up the cake, add the coconut and lemon and orange rind. Stir well.
  2. Prepare 8-inch square fruitcake pan that is 3 inches deep and has a removable bottom: Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray. Line the pan (bottom and sides), with brown paper or double thickness of parchment paper. Lightly spray the paper.
  3. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  4. In large bowl of stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until mixture is light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure ingredients are all incorporated. Beat 1 additional minute. Beat in the vanilla, almond, and lemon flavorings. Stir in the drained crushed pineapple.
  5. Sift together 2¾ cups of the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. In measuring cup or small bowl, combine the orange and lemon juices along with the reserved ¼ cup of pineapple juice.
  7. Add the dry and wet ingredients to the beaten butter and sugar mixture in three additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Transfer batter to a very large bowl.
  8. Sprinkle reserved cup of flour over the macerated fruit and toss ingredients lightly and quickly. Gently fold the fruit mixture into the batter.
  9. In clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.
  10. Transfer batter by large spoonfuls into the prepared baking pan. Use a knife to evenly spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top. Add a few cherries as decorations to the top of the cake, if desired.
  11. Place small pan of hot water on the lower rack in the oven. Place fruitcake in center of middle rack and bake for approximately 5 – 5¼ hours or until cake is firm to the touch and cake tester inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. After about an hour or so of baking, loosely tent cake with tin foil to prevent it from browning too much. Remove cake from oven and place on rack. Let cake cool in pan for about 40 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on a tea towel and removing the paper. Carefully turn the cake top side up on to a wire cooling rack.
  12. Let cake cool completely before brushing well with brandy and wrapping in brandy-soaked cheesecloth, followed by plastic wrap and tin foil. Store in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, dry area. Remove wrapping and brush cake top and sides with brandy once a week for 2-3 weeks as the cake “ages” before cutting and serving.
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Christmas Cake
Light Fruitcake

Vintage Tomato Soup Layer Cake Recipe

By now, if you are a regular follower of my food blog, you have probably detected that I like vintage foods and those that could be called comfort foods.

I grew up with tomato soup cake as standard fare in the household. It’s such a simple cake and, while it may seem bizarre to add a can of tomato soup to cake batter, it’s really tasty when some spices are added. The tomato soup cake my mother used to make was always a single layer (and always made in the pyrex glass 8″ square baking pan). It was never frosted and was generally considered to be an “every day cake” as opposed to a cake for a special occasion.  My mother’s cake was rather dense in texture and contained no eggs. Spices consisted of cinnamon and cloves.

Tomato Soup Cake
Tomato Soup Cake

I have used my mother’s recipe as inspiration but have completely revamped the recipe to turn this cake into a more decadent dessert.  I’ve added eggs for lightness, moisture, and a tender crumb and added some molasses and a small amount of nutmeg for added flavour.  A hefty dose of cream cheese frosting takes a plain old basic cake to new heights. On top of great flavour, the cake has a beautiful rusty-orange color.

Tomato Soup Cake
Tomato Soup Cake

I bake this cake in two 8″ round pans and the batter will rise to the very top of each pan.  Nine-inch (9″) round pans can also be used but the cakes will obviously not be quite as thick and the baking time will need to be adjusted as they will take slightly less time to bake than the 8″ cakes.  I highly recommend using bake even strips, dampened and wrapped snugly around each pan – these help to keep cakes even as they bake as opposed to tops that have peaks and valleys.  These strips really do make a difference.  That said, though, there is usually some leveling that still has to take place on the cakes and, for this, I recommend a cake leveler or, alternatively, you can use a serrated knife.  Make sure both cakes are the same height and that any loose crumbs are brushed from the cakes before frosting.

Tomato Soup Cake
Tomato Soup Cake

(Printable recipe follows at end of post)

Tomato Soup Layer Cake

Ingredients:

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

2¾ tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cloves

¼ tsp nutmeg

⅔ cup shortening, softened to room temperature

1⅓ cups sugar

2 large eggs (at room temperature for 15-20 minutes)

1 – 10 oz can tomato soup

2 tbsp milk

2 tbsp molasses

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°F and position rack in center of oven.

Prepare two 8” round cake pans by greasing the pans and lining the bottom of each pan with parchment paper .

In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

In large bowl with mixer set at medium speed, cream the shortening and sugar together until well blended.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, combine the tomato soup, milk, and molasses.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the liquid ingredients, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Beat well after each addition, scraping bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula as necessary to ensure all dry ingredients are incorporated.  Finally, beat batter one additional minute at medium-high speed.

Divide batter equally between the two prepared pans, spreading evenly.  Bake for apx.  38-40 minutes or until cake tester inserted into center of a cake comes out clean and cake springs back to a light finger touch.  Transfer cakes to wire rack and let cool in pans for 10 minutes. With the edge of a small flat-edged paring knife, gently loosen edges of each cake from the pans.  Invert cakes onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting.

Yield: 1 – 8” layer cake, apx. 10-12 servings

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature

½ cup butter or margarine, softened

2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp milk

1 lb sifted icing (confectioner’s/powdered) sugar (weighed after sifted)

Method:

With mixer set at medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter or margarine until creamy and well-blended.  Beat in vanilla and milk.  Add about one-third of the icing sugar.  Beat well to blend.  Add remaining icing sugar in two separate additions, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl often with rubber spatula to ensure sugar is well blended into creamed mixture.  Beat for 1-2 minutes longer until frosting is smooth, light, and fluffy.

Yield:  Enough to fill and completely frost 1 – 8” or 1 – 9” layer cake.

To assemble cake:

Even each cake top by using a cake leveler or serrated knife, ensuring both cakes are the same height. Lightly brush away any loose crumbs remaining on the sides of the cakes.  Sandwich together the two cake layers with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting.  With the remaining frosting, cover the top of cake and, if desired, the sides or, alternatively, leave the sides without frosting for a more rustic looking cake.

Tomato Soup Cake
Tomato Soup Cake

Vintage Tomato Soup Layer Cake

Yield: 1 - 8" layer cake, apx. 10-12 servings

A moist and flavorful spice cake with a tender crumb

Ingredients

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup shortening, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature for 15-20 minutes)
  • 1 – 10oz can tomato soup
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • Frosting:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 1 lb sifted icing (confectioner’s/powdered) sugar (weighed after sifted)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and position rack in center of oven.
  2. Prepare two 8” round cake pans by greasing the pans and lining the bottom of each pan with parchment paper.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
  4. In large bowl with mixer set at medium speed, cream the shortening and sugar together until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, combine the tomato soup, milk, and molasses.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the liquid ingredients, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat well after each addition, scraping bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula as necessary to ensure all dry ingredients are incorporated. Finally, beat batter one additional minute at medium-high speed.
  7. Divide batter equally between the two prepared pans, spreading evenly. Bake for apx. 38-40 minutes or until cake tester inserted into center of a cake comes out clean and cake springs back to a light finger touch. Transfer cakes to wire rack and let cool in pans for 10 minutes. With the edge of a small flat-edged paring knife, gently loosen edges of each cake from the pans. Invert cakes onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting.
  8. Frosting:
  9. With mixer set at medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter or margarine until creamy and well-blended. Beat in vanilla and milk. Add about one-third of the icing sugar. Beat well to blend. Add remaining icing sugar in two separate additions, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl often with rubber spatula to ensure sugar is well blended into creamed mixture. Beat for 1-2 minutes longer until frosting is smooth, light, and fluffy.
  10. To assemble cake:
  11. Even each cake top by using a cake leveler or serrated knife, ensuring both cakes are the same height. Lightly brush away any loose crumbs remaining on the sides of the cakes. Sandwich together the two cake layers with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting. With the remaining frosting, cover the top of cake and, if desired, the sides or, alternatively, leave the sides without frosting for a more rustic looking cake.
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Tomato Soup Cake
Tomato Soup Cake