There is little I love more than dipping into some old recipe books and hauling out something tasty sounding to give a try. I like looking in the cupboard and trying to find something to mix up and plop in the oven made from what I have. Modern baking can sometimes make this hard.
However, when it comes to cookery Second World War style, less is usually more. Marguerite Pattern and the Ministry of Food team came up with some pretty darn yumsome treats when rations were in full swing.
Case in point Date & Marmalade Cake.
50g margerine (or butter)
3 tbsp orange marmalade
4-5 drops orange essence
100g dates, chopped finely
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground ginger
4 tbsp milk (or water)
Half tsp bicarb of soda
- Preheat oven to 160C / (325F) / GM 3
- Grease and flour a 18 x 10 loaf tin (or whatever you have - this could be made in a round tin too)
- Over a low heat, place the fat, sugar, orange essence & marmalade into a saucepan and slowly melt together.
- Whilst melting, chop the dates.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the chopped dates. Allow to stand for 15 mins.
- Sift together the flour & ground ginger
- Add the cooled mixture to the dried ingredients and stir.
- Pour the milk into the pan and stir to grab any of the remaining mixture, add the bicarb, stir & then add to the bowl.
- Finally, add the egg and beat well.
- Pour into prepared tin and bake for about 50 mins or until firm.
- Allow to cool in the tin for at least 15 mins, turn out, cool completely and...
The result from the is a cake that is great with a cup of tea in the afternoon or as a snack on the go first thing in the morning. It's not too sweet and not too plain. Goldilocks would approve. It is fairly light and lasts for up to a week in an airtight container. You can cut it pretty thinly and make it stretch all the further.
The thing that really I love about this cake is that you can make it from anything that you have to hand. There is a identical recipe in the Victory Cookbook that replaces the marmalade with golden syrup. You could swap out the fruit - I am liking the idea of dried apple or maybe apricots? - or the spice and really experiment.
Or just cut yourself a wodge of this one and smother it in marmalade. Tres nice.
Or so I've heard.
*Adapted from The Victory Cookbook