Recipe: Lincolnshire Whitsun cake

31 May 2019


LUCKY me to find in a charity shop Porters Seasonal Celebrations Cook­book by Richard, Earl of Bradford, and Carol Wilson (JR Books, 2007), with wonderful recipes that I had not come across before. Eleanor and I tried out the Revel buns and Lincolnshire Whitsun cake.

½ teaspoon saffron strands
3 tablespoons warm milk
225g (8 oz) white strong flour
pinch salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
55g (2 oz) butter
55g (2 oz) currants
14g (½ oz) instant dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2-3 tablespoons double cream
1 egg, beaten

Soak the saffron in the warm milk for a few hours. Rub the flour, salt, cinnamon, and butter together until you have fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre, and add the currants, yeast, the infused saffron milk, cream, and almost all the egg, keeping a little in reserve for glazing. Mix together to make a soft dough, and then knead it well for 2-3 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a damp tea-towel, and leave it in a warm place to double in size. Knead the dough again, to knock it back, and divide it into 8 buns. Place them on a well-greased baking sheet, cover them again, and leave them in a warm place for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Brush the buns with the remaining beaten egg, and bake them for 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

In the Whitsun cake, I sub­stituted Xylitol for sugar.

375g (13 oz) strong white flour
pinch salt
75g (6 oz) butter
7g (¼ oz) instant dried yeast (or 15g/½ oz fresh yeast)
150ml (2 fl. oz) warm milk
115g (4½ oz) butter, melted
225g (8 oz) raisins
225g (8 oz) sugar
pinch grated nutmeg
pinch ground cinnamon
1 egg, separated

Make a soft dough with the flour, salt, butter, yeast, milk, and three-quarters of the butter. Cover it and leave it to rise for 45 minutes in a warm place. Meanwhile, mix the raisins, sugar, spices, and remaining butter in a saucepan and simmer them together gently for 10 minutes. Cool and stir in the egg yolk.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Grease a 20cm (8-inch) round cake tin. Divide the dough into four pieces and roll each one out into a disc that will fit the cake tin. Layer them with the raisin mixture, finishing with the fourth round of dough, and sealing the sides neatly with a brush of egg white. Bake the cake for 45 minutes. Brush the top with the egg white and bake for a further 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and store in a tin for two days.

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