Cakes and Treats for Mother’s Day
Today, the 2oth March 2017, is the Spring Equinox; the equinox falls on March the 19th or 20th every year, marking spring’s beginning in the Northern Hemisphere, or autumn in the southern hemisphere. It’s always been a time of renewal and hope in ancient cultures, and I am affected in very emotional way to the passing and birth of each season…….in the same way that the sound of the wind in the trees stirs me and awakens my past, the start (and end) of each season sees me in a heightened emotional state, with daily thoughts of my family, both living and dead, and also thoughts of my childhood and my life to date…….it may sound morbid, but it’s just my way of connecting with nature as well as my past, present and future, with my feelings veering between nostalgia, sadness, regret, joy, happiness and hope, so it’s not all bad!
Spring this year is very poignant for me, as most of my readers will remember, my father died just over three months ago, so this is the first spring in my lifetime that he’s not been here to share it with me; but, as we all know and as the age-old saying goes, “life goes on”, and although our lives have been changed forever, and are infinitely sadder, I still have my lovely mum with me. Next Sunday, the 26th of March is Mothering Sunday in the UK, I’ve created (based on an old recipe) a fabulous new recipe for Queen Cakes to bake for my mum this year, and which are also easy for any of my readers to replicate for their mother’s too. These classic British cakes or buns, have appeared in numerous old cookbooks and even in the popular television series “Larkrise to Candleford”, as well as in the book of the same name; they are the original “cup cake” and my recipe hides a guilty secret, as there is a goodly slug of brandy in them, which adds to their culinary charms. The addition of ground rice is optional, but I remember my grandmother adding ground rice to cakes, for a delicious added texture.
Originally baked in small fluted metal pans, similar to Brioches à Tête, the original recipe was a “pound cake” recipe and has always had currants added, as well as flower water and ground mace. One of the first recorded recipes for these dainty treats dates back to the early 18th century, from the book by Robert Smith called Court Cookery, 1725, as shared below:
“Take a Pound of dry’d Flower, a Pound of refin’d Sugar sifted, and a Pound of Currans wash’d, pick’d, and rubb’d clean, and a Pound of Butter wash’d very well, and rub it into the Flower and Sugar, with a little beaten Mace, and a little Orange-Flower Water; beat ten Eggs, but half the Whites, work it all well together with your Hands, and put in the Currans; sift over it double-refin’d Sugar, and put them immediately into a gentle Oven to bake.”
As well as my recipe for Queen Cakes, which I’ve shared below, I’ve also added some other recipes that would be perfect for your mum this Mothering Sunday. I hope you all have a wonderful day, whether you be mums, grandmothers, daughters or sons, and for my North American readers, you may be interested in this little snippet…….What is Mothering Sunday? Mothering Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Lent. Although it’s often called Mothers’ Day it has no connection with the American festival of that name. Traditionally, it was a day when children, mainly daughters, who had gone to work as domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother and family. Also called Refreshment Sunday, it’s one of two days during Lent, where fasting is relaxed and forbidden ingredients such as butter, eggs and cream, as well as cakes, are briefly back on the table. I hope you all enjoy my Queen Cakes recipe, and please do let me know if you make them! Have a wonderful week, Karen
Mothering Sunday Recipes: