cookbooks

A Common Cake. Recipe

A Common Cake, also known as a basic sponge cake, is a classic recipe that has been enjoyed for generations. This versatile cake has a simple yet comforting taste and can be easily customized to suit different preferences. It is a staple in many households and is often served as a delicious treat for gatherings and special occasions.

The history of this recipe can be traced back to traditional British baking. The use of simple ingredients like flour, butter, eggs, sugar, and milk has made this cake a favorite among home bakers for centuries. The process of rubbing in the butter with the flour creates a light and fluffy texture, while the yeast adds a subtle freshness to the cake.

Fun fact: The term "rubbing in" refers to the technique of incorporating fat into dry ingredients. It involves using your fingertips to work the fat (in this case, butter) into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. This method helps create a tender and crumbly texture in the final baked goods.

Now, let's dive into the recipe for A Common Cake:

Ingredients:
- 1 pound (454g) flour
- 6 ounces (170g) butter (plus more if desired)
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 pound (226g) sugar
- 1/4 pint (118ml) milk
- Currants or caraway seeds (as desired)
- Optional: Candied citron and lemon peel (for a richer version)

Instructions:
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and butter. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Add the yeast to the mixture and gently mix it in.
3. Set the mixture aside in a warm place to allow it to rise. This will take approximately 1-2 hours, depending on the room temperature.
4. Once the mixture has risen, add the eggs, sugar, and milk. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
5. If desired, add currants or caraway seeds to the mixture and stir them in.
6. Pour the batter into a greased and lined baking tin.
7. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and bake the cake for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

For a richer version of A Common Cake, you can add more butter and eggs to the recipe. Additionally, you can incorporate candied citron and lemon peel for a hint of citrus flavor and a touch of elegance. These additions will elevate the taste and appearance of the cake, making it suitable for more special occasions.

Similar recipe dishes to A Common Cake include Victoria Sponge Cake, Pound Cake, and traditional British fruitcakes. Victoria Sponge Cake is a close relative of A Common Cake and is often filled with jam and whipped cream. Pound Cake, as its name suggests, uses a pound of each main ingredient (flour, butter, sugar, and eggs) to create a rich and dense cake. Traditional British fruitcakes are similar but are packed full of dried fruits, spices, and often soaked in alcohol for added flavor.

A Common Cake, with its simplicity and versatility, remains a beloved recipe that can be enjoyed as is or customized according to personal taste. So go ahead and give this recipe a try, whether you're baking for a special occasion or simply craving a delicious homemade cake!

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