Saturday, 26 February 2011

History Corner – St George Cake

Last July (which feels like years ago!) I made a pineapple cake from the “Coronation Cakes and Pastries” booklet provided free with 23rd January 1937 edition of Woman’s World magazine. This was the coronation of King George VI i.e. the present Queen’s father. Of course, nowadays he’s known to us as Colin Firth, thanks to the wonderful film “The King’s Speech.

As it’s Oscar weekend I thought it would be fitting to revisit this booklet and make another recipe from it. It’s my way of supporting the King’s Speech and hoping that it gets all the accolades it deserves, (it probably won’t, but I’ll settle for Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush coming out of it with shiny new trinkets for their mantelpieces!)

Anyway, the cake. Light fruit cakes are a thing of beauty and this one relies solely on sultanas for its fruit. I do love sultanas. Often I’ll use extra sultanas in a cake rather than the currants the recipe lists. They’re golden and soft and sweet and I can just eat them by the handful!

The original recipe recommended dusting the baked cake with caster sugar but I did this before the cake went in the oven to ensure a nice crisp top. I also did 1.5x the quantities as it looked a bit mean (the quantities set out below are the quantities that I used).

This is probably close to Mr CC’s perfect style of cake. It’s a beautiful cake to enjoy with a cup of tea and a sit down!


170g/6oz unsalted butter, at room temperature

170g/6oz caster sugar – plus extra to sprinkle on top

3 eggs

340g/12oz self raising flour

225g/8oz sultanas

6 tablespoons milk


Preheat oven to 180˚C/fan oven 160˚C/350˚F/ Gas mark 4.

Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Take your time on this stage to get lots of air into the mix.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Stir in the flour.

Stir in the sultanas.

Stir in the milk until the dough is soft. Add more milk if necessary.

Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Sprinkle an extra 2-3 tablespoons of sugar over the surface of the cake.

Bake for approximately 1.5 hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Mine took 1 hour 10 minutes. I recommend checking the cake after an hour just to make sure it isn’t browning too quickly – if it is, cover it loosely with foil and continue cooking.

Leave to cool on a wire rack and remove the tin when it’s cool enough to handle safely.

Leave the cake to cool completely on the wire rack before storing in an airtight container.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.



trash said...

I shall be making this tomorrow to enjoy while I stay up proffer Colin Firth my support. Oh and the film too I spose.

Tricia said...

I have to say that this post made me cry! My grandmother used to make this cake (or at least one extremely like it) and when I was a child I liked it so much it was known in our family as "Tricia cake". She died last year at the grand age of 94 (so she might even have got the recipe from the same place) and I never did get the recipe from her. So I shall make this next weekend and tell my children the story. Thanks so much for posting it.

Baking Addict said...

What a beautiful looking cake. I really enjoyed the King's Speech and watching Colin Firth of course :)

ImplausibleYarn said...

I absolutely loved that movie! I wasn't so fond of the audience in general but it was a great movie. Colin Firth is just yummy. The cake looks delicious!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

I absolutely love sultanas too and often eat them by the handful(s). Just delicoius! Your cake looks fantastic and goldenly baked. What a brillant recipe for me/my family; I'm noting it down.

Katie said...

The cake looks yummy and I totally agree that sultanas are far nicer than most currants. I always add a few to my porridge or cereal. Hope the Kings Speech gets the awards it deserves.

Cakelaw said...

It looks and sounds delicious - and I do love old cake recipes.

Rhyleysgranny said...

That cake looks perfect. I prefer sultanas too although I have taken to using dried cranberries. I haven't seen the film yet. It seems to be getting very good reviews.I love those sort of films. Colin Firth is an attraction too. I loved him as Mr Darcy.

Lucy said...

This cake looks like a perfect afternoon treat - great with a cup of tea. I too hope that the King's Speech (especially Colin Firth) get all the awards they deserve.

trash said...

Yummo. Made it this afternoon and we had some for pudding. TG there were three eggs left for CK's version with frozen raspberries.

The KitchenMaid said...

The only thing better than this cake, a cup of tea and a sit down would be all of the above plus Colin Firth! Sigh...

XingyMingy said...

I just watched the King's Speech too! Good film, great cake :)

Maggie said...

Like Tricia, my Nan too used to make cake like this. It made me feel warm, cosy and safe just looking at your photograph.

Sarah-Jane - said...

ooohh - that looks gorgeous. Been years since I had a good old sultana cake !

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

This cake looks delicious! And I was thrilled that Colin Firth won for best actor and the film for best picture despite that 'The Fighter' was filmed in my hometown! Shh, don't tell anyone! Thanks!