TO CELEBRATE the beginning of the new football season, a Dorset queen of cakes, Sue Simkins, reminds me that the first football clubs were very spiritually minded institutions (and spirituality seems to require copious amounts of cake to fuel it). Tottenham Hotspur had their own Tottenham Cake, created by a local Quaker baker, Henry Chalkley.
The cake was easily cut into equal pieces, and the icing was tinted with local mulberries. The squares were sold for one penny, but when Spurs won the FA Cup in 1901 children were given a piece for free. Sue’s recipe makes nine squares. (This recipe previously appeared in the magazine The Countryman.)
175g (6 oz) softened butter
175g (6 oz) golden caster sugar
175g (6 oz) plain flour
1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 level teaspoons cream of tartar
3 medium eggs
2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm (8-inch) square cake tin. Cream together butter and sugar with the help of a food processor or mixer. Combine flour and raising agents and sieve half over mixture. Add eggs, cover with remaining flour, and mix together. Add milk and whizz or whisk until smooth and glossy. Pour into tin and bake for 30 minutes until risen and golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in the tin.
To make the icing, combine 3 tablespoons slightly warmed sieved raspberry jam, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and one teaspoon glycerine with 225g (8 oz) sieved icing sugar. Beat until smooth.
Toffee brownies, on the other hand, look rather decadent but are made with good ingredients, and are absurdly easy to make, even being more-or-less self-icing. I was given this recipe recently, and was surprised that it contained no raising agent. So surprised, in fact, that I didn’t have any wholewheat plain flour in the house and tried it first with self-raising wholewheat instead. They were very good, but less brownie-like than the plain flour version.
225g (8 oz) butter
225g (8 oz) coconut sugar
225g (8 oz) plain wholemeal flour
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
115g (4 oz) 85% plain chocolate
Line a 19cm (7½-inch) square cake tin with baking paper. Heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4. Cream the butter and sugar until light, and add the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. It will make a very sticky dough, to spread into the baking tin. Bake it for about 25 minutes, being careful not to overcook it. It should be a little squidgy when you take it out of the oven. Break the chocolate into pieces, and lay them on top of the hot cake to melt while you spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle the slivered almonds on top, and leave to cool for a few minutes before cutting the cake into 16 small squares.