Baby Buns

A few months back I started with the task of baking through a cookbook that my Grandma gave me belonging to her Grandma. The first recipe I made from it was some buns, which I used to announce my pregnancy. As I’m still waiting for the baby to appear- and getting a bit bored, I decided yesterday to carry on with a couple of the easier looking recipes: one of which happened to be buns which seems apt to keep with the baby theme!

I’ll go with the shorter recipe first as it was fairly straightforward and didn’t require too much guess work!

Original Cornflour Cake recipe

Fortunately this one didn’t require too much guess work, just the oven temperature and what sort of tin to use. For the amount of mixture there was I decided it probably needed to be fairly low, so put it onto 160 C, and ended up baking for 40 minutes. It also went into a single sandwich tin which I greased and lined to be on the safe side. So here is the updated recipe:

Cornflour Cake
2oz/60g cornflour
2oz/60g caster sugar
2 eggs
2oz/60g plain flour
2oz/60g butter
1 tsp baking powder
Cream together the butter and sugar, add one egg and the cornflour and mix. Then add the plain flour with the remaining egg and baking powder. Beat well for five minutes (less if using an electric mixer). Spoon into a greased, lined sandwich tin and bake in a preheated oven at 160 C for 40 minutes. Remove and put onto a cooling tray.

The cake ended up feeling like it would be very dense- when you press down it doesn’t spring back like a normal sponge. However it tastes lighter than you would expect. There were no directions for icing but you could treat it like a sponge cake, it would probably be nice with jam, but I wouldn’t layer it due to its density, even though it is quite thin.

The second set of baking took a bit more effort but was still very straightforward. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Coconut buns, as there is no yeast in them so they’re not like the last set of sweet buns. They ended up tasting a bit like coconut scones (or biscuits if you’re from the US!) The recipe asked for 1 egg but I ended up using 2 small eggs as the mixture wasn’t coming together. This made them quite sticky but you couldn’t tell from the end product.

Coconut Buns
3/4lb flour/340g plain flour
1/4lb/115g caster sugar
1 large or 2 small eggs
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3oz/85g butter
1 gill (142ml) milk
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4lb/115g desiccated coconut
Cream together the butter and sugar. Alternate adding the milk and egg with the flour and other dry ingredients to form a soft dough. Shape into 12 buns and arrange on a lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool slightly before eating.

My plan is to bake my way through as much of Granny’s book as possible, trying to work out the ingredients, method, and baking times! Not all the recipes sound that appetising but I’ll give them a go and try and fill in where things are missing. I’ll also pop another couple of recipes below that I’ve tried out but overlooked putting on, and keep better up to date in future!

Rhubarb Chutney
2lbs/900g rhubarb
1lb/450g onions
1lb/450g sugar
1/2lb/225g dates
3/4pt/425ml vinegar
1 tbsp pickling spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne
Peel and cut up onions. Wipe and cut up rhubarb. Stone and chop dates. Put them together in a sauce pan. Pour the vinegar over it, simmer for 30 minutes and bring to the boil, then add the sugar and stir well. Add the salt, spice and cayenne and boil together until the rhubarb is quite tender. Stir occasionally to keep from burning.

My Mum has a lot of rhubarb in her garden, so she kindly made the chutney for me and fed back that it was oniony and a bit sweet and sour! She added her notes on the recipe to try and make it easier to follow:
-you can get pickling vinegar, which makes it easier as you don’t also need pickling spice
-when you come to bottling make sure you sterilise the jars by putting them in the oven, cover the chutney with waxed jar covers and then the top of the jar with cellophane, which is easier to do while hot
-the mixture is liable to spit when it’s boiling so be careful
-the bigger bits of rhubarb need to be squashed against the side of the pan
-you can tell it’s ready when a spoon makes a path through it
-you’ll need a jug to pour it into jars, but it’s quite messy as it’s so thick

Granny’s Lemonade
1 1/4lb (560g) sugar
3 lemons
1 1/2 pt boiling water
1oz (30g) citric acid
1/4 pt cold water
Slice lemons, put into a large bowl with sugar. Pour over boiling water, stir until sugar dissolves, leave overnight.
Dissolve the citric acid in cold water. Mix with the lemonade. Strain and bottle, refrigerate.
To serve, dilute with water or sparkling water for fizzy lemonade.
You can also add elderflower heads with the lemons, or lavender flowers. For Rhubarb Lemonade use 2 lemons and 4 large sticks of rhubarb- the pinker the better for colour.
Remove the lemon slices at the end and freeze them to put in your drinks.

Back in May I also tried out a seed cake, which is another one that I wouldn’t normally make. There’s two seed cake recipes in the cook book so I tried out the one labelled cheap as I thought it might be a bit easier to find the ingredients. I was worried that the seed taste would be quite strong, but it seemed to be just the right amount as you could taste a hint of the seeds but it wasn’t overpowering.

Seed Cake (cheap)
1/2lb/225g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
2oz/60g sugar
3oz/90g dripping (butter)
1 gill (142ml) milk
Rub the butter well into the flour, add the remaining dry ingredients; mix well together. Break up the egg, add the milk and stir both in with the dry ingredients very quickly. Put into a well greased loaf tin and bake in a preheated oven at 170 C for 1 1/2 hours.

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