It’s particularly grim weather in London today. One mustn’t complain too much as we’ve had a few days of sunshine and most importantly this morning has been born a NewHuman to our very good friends. I shall dedicate this post to her, RJBF, as she’s barely 8 hours old at the time of writing and already causing dramas. Takes after her mother, which is wonderful. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, dedicating a post to a newborn child. I can regale her with stories of visitor stats and comments. Such a treat in store for her.
It’s a terrible thing, parenthood. It comes with it so many societal norms and assumed values, and is supported by an industry that seems to me to run on the power of guilt. I’ve managed to avoid a lot of it through dint of being an ornery old cow but even I, heart made of steel, have fallen foul of the Parenting Guilt Trap more times than it’s cool to admit. I DO NOT APPROVE. I’m basing this on almost 6 months of experience. I feel well qualified to comment. Basically if your kid is alive, loved, sometimes clean and mostly warm, then you’re onto a winner. I am going to write a parenting book, I think, and title it ‘It’s Probably Fine, Stop Worrying and Go Have a Drink’.
Anyway, moving on, this tea cake is from a legendary cookbook of my youth, The Golden Wattle. Our copy at home was held together with the concrete remains of various flours, some not-very-sticky sellotape and carefully placed batter drops from this very cake. The photos for this post date back to the day before my NewHuman was born. I made this before falling headfirst (and morphine-assisted, oh yeah) into parenting and I think there’s still some left in the freezer. Cake, that is.
We ate a lot of this growing up. It is a Plain Cake but one, slathered in cold butter per slice, which is very satisfying. Much better than those bloody annoying Weekender Biscuits, as previously posted.
Preheat your oven to 180C.
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sugar
vanilla extract – the good stuff
1 and 1/2 cups Self Raising flour
1/2 -3/4 cup of milk.
Grease and line a loaf tin. Actually, don’t line it. It’s a faff and you don’t need to bother with this cake.
Cream butter and sugar together quite well, then add the egg and beat it. Beat it well. Beat it like the showy mothers who homecook all their weaning child’s food, freezing pureed blocks of organically grown carrots in their specially purchased freezers, and then blog about it.
Stir through the vanilla.
Pour the batter into your greased loaf tin. Now the original recipe I think says to bake 15-20 minutes in moderate oven but that’s batshit crazy. I can’t remember now seeing as it’s six months ago but I’m fairly confident I baked mine for closer to 40 mins or so. Basically you want a clean skewer type situation, so see how you get on.
The dog had two consecutive vet visits last week – an unexplained skin infection (yuk, gross, expensive and ugly) and then the very next morning she managed to magically tear her front leg open on an invisible stick. Staples ahoy (yuk, ow, ugly and urgh). Also expensive. Anyway NewHuman has been keen to investigate, as demonstrated above. Dog is rightly unsure about his fine motor skills.
Right – cake out of the oven when clean skewer has been achieved.
Grab a block of butter from somewhere – if you’re like me you have about a hundred butter-ends from all those recipes who call for slightly less than 250g. Anyway, one of them. Rub it along the cake whilst cake is still hot. Melty melty goodness. Rub a lot of it in.
Sprinkle caster sugar and cinnamon on top. I actually think the original recipe says do this, and then when cake cooled to cut the cake in half and spread it with butter, then rejoin. We don’t bother that that in my family. We just butter the top, and then layer butter on a slice, like bricklayer’s cement.
Eat, enjoy. Some kind of hot beverage is good with this. It’s called tea cake, innit.