Sunday, March 17, 2013

Two Cinnamon Tea Cakes

The last month has seen Brisbane awash with rain.  All of the damp and cooler weather has meant that baking is a much more pleasant undertaking.  So I've been donning the apron to make a few more recipes from the Brisbane City Tabernacle Girls Missionary Union tested recipes cookbook.

There were two different recipes for cinnamon tea cake on page 3 of the book.  I decided to test each one after the other for a fair comparison.

Cinnamon Tea Cake (Mrs. G. Hutton)
page 3
  • 1 tab butter
  • 1 'small' cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • a few drops vanilla essence
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp castor sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp desiccated coconut

Preheat the over to 180 degrees celcius* and prepare a cake pan by greasing it, lining the bottom with kitchen parchment paper and flouring the sides of the pan.
Beat together the butter and sugar. ** 
Add the egg, vanilla essence followed by the flour and milk. ***
Pour batter in the prepared pan and bake for 40 min. 
While still warm, dust the top with the cinnamon, sugar and coconut. 
*   As the recipe made no mention of baking temperature or duration I had to make a guess at these.
** I found that the ratio of butter to sugar in this recipe meant that it didn't 'cream' at all until I added the eggs.
*** Again, the recipe made no mention of how much milk was required so I looked to the second recipe (below) and used that as a guide.

I also realised too late that instead of desiccated coconut I had large coconut flakes.

     My Results and Notes
    This cake went to work for a morning tea and sadly lost some of it's charm in the overnight wait and then the travel.   It also looked a little sad to start with because I had used coconut flakes instead of dessicated coconut as part of the topping. 

    Though my office colleagues said the cake was delicious, it seemed a little too thick and heavy for a tea cake in my opinion.  The recipe was a hard one to make because the omissions of vital information like baking time and temperature and how much milk to add meant that a lot of guess-work was applied.  I was actually surprised it worked out well enough to eat!

    Cinnamon Tea Cake (Miss P. Fielding)
    page 3
    • 1 tab butter
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 egg lightly beaten
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 cup self raising flour
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 des castor sugar
    • small amount of butter  
    Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and prepare a cake pan.
    Cream the butter and sugar.  
    Add the egg, vanilla, milk and sifted flour.  
    Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 - 40 min*. 
    While still warm, brush with the butter and sprinkle the cinnamon and castor sugar over the top. 

    My Results and Notes
    This recipe came together much more easily that the first one by Mrs Hutton.   All ingredients had measurements listed and though there wasn't a prescribed oven temperature there was at least a guideline to baking times.  

    Interestingly enough I had to bake this a little longer than the original recipe so perhaps I misjudged the temperature to use and should have used something higher like 200 degrees Celsius

    When I ate a piece of the finished cake I had to grab my phone and text my Mum to tell her it was the best cake I had made in a long time.   My husband and visiting friend had two slices each so I knew it was definitely a good thing! 

    I highly recommend this recipe- but I would suggest that you err on the side of caution with oven temperature and baking time. 

    Notes on Mrs G. Hutton and Miss P. Fielding
    Mrs G. Hutton is a name that appears often in the Social column of the Brisbane Courier Mail through the 1930s.  

    There is mention in the Brisbane Courier Mail in October 1936 of Mrs G. Hutton winning the monte carlos dance competition at an Armistice Ball to raise money for war veterans.

    There is also mention of a Mrs. G. B. Hutton dressing up as Mary Queen of Scots for a New Years Eve gala in 1937 in the 04 Jan 1938 Courier Mail.  I'd like to think this is the same Mrs G. Hutton but suspect it may be a different lady

    Miss P. Fielding was also a referenced in the Brisbane papers a great deal through the 1930s however I think that the wide range of locations mentioned (Laidley, Forest Hill and Killarney) mean these are likely different ladies. 

    Miss P. Fielding in Laidley was the ladies representative on an ANZAC Day Commemoration committee according to an article in 1929.  This same Miss P. Fielding won the prize at the Laidley show in 1928 for prize cumquarts          

    The other promising candidate for our Miss P. Fielding is one who made prize-winning shortbread at a Presbyterian Fete at Forest Hill in 1930.   If this is the lady who donated this recipe it is a surprise that her prize winning shortbread recipe doesn't appear in the book. 

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