Walnut cake

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Walnut-cakeThis recipe, from the late 1900s, couldn’t be easier to make.

We’re not sure who Queen Bee was, but we think she’d be pleased her recipes are still being made more than 100 years after she wrote them. She wrote this recipe for walnut cake for The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic) newspaper, which was published on 15 February 1896.

We assume she used self-raising flour for this recipe (see her additional text below), and baked the cake in two tins.

Self-raising flour

Self-raising flour is the best for all kinds of cakes. The following is a recipe to make it. Take l6lb. of flour, add 2oz. of tartaric acid, loz. of cream of tartar, and 2oz. of bicarbonate of soda. Mix and sift the flour thoroughly and keep in a dry place ready for use.

Walnut cake

by Queen Bee
(Published below as it appeared in The Australasian, 1896)

Beat half a cupful of butter to a cream, then beat in half a cupful of castor sugar, add two well-beaten eggs, half a cupful of milk, two cupfuls of sifted flour, and half a cupful of shelled walnuts, which have been pounded in a mortar. Mix all thoroughly, and bake in shallow round tins.

Whip half a pint of unscalded cream, add sugar and flavouring to taste. When the cakes are cold spread the inside of one or two, according to the thickness desired, with the cream, and sprinkle on the cream a little finely-pounded walnuts; place them one on top of the other, and ice with white icing, placing a ring of walnuts dipped in the icing round the edge of the top cake.

Queen Bee’s rules for cake-making

A few good rules in cake-making are worth remembering.

  • The greatest importance should be attached to the heat of the oven, especially for large cakes. For these the oven should be of a good even heat, but not too fierce, or the cake will not rise. If the oven is too quick a sheet or two of clean white paper should be put on top of the cake.
  • Eggs should always be fresh, but when they can not be relied on they should always be broken singly into a cup, so that bad ones may easily be rejected. All eggs that have to be beaten should be thoroughly whisked; they are generally right when thick enough to carry the drop that falls from the whisk.
  • If a cake is sufficiently done a knife when plunged into the centre will come out clean.
  • Small cakes require a brisk oven until they have risen, then the heat may be moderated.
  • Castor sugar is the best for cakes ; when loaf sugar is used it should be well pounded and passed through a sieve.
  • Currants and raisins should be well washed, picked singly to avoid all grit and stone, and then dried in a dry cloth.
  • The best butter obtainable makes the most satisfactory cakes, but good clarified dripping or lard can be need for simple ones.

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