As we move into December surrounded by the ubiquitous traditional Christmas baking, I want to share something a little different. A simple, comforting cake which can be enjoyed in a quiet moment before the seasonal hurly burly and stress of Christmas food preparation kicks off .
Less cake and more biscuit, it is the perfect companion for a cup of tea or freshly brewed coffee. It is quick to make and satisfyingly buttery without being too rich. I love the way the edges of the cake form themselves as the cake cools down. I recommend cutting out your slices with a sharp knife as soon as the cake comes out of the oven.
My friend Sarah, a keen and excellent baker from Cumbria gave me this recipe. I’m sure we all have a favourite cake recipe which has been passed down to us by mum’s, aunts, mother-in-laws, grannies and the like. I have several very precious hand written recipes from my own mother, stuck into my ancient recipe scrap book. There is something special about a hand written recipe – making a strong connection with that person – don’t you think?
8 oz plain flour
8 oz unsalted butter
6 oz caster sugar
1/2 tspn baking powder
vanilla extract, a few drops
pinch of salt
1 egg, separated
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add egg yolk and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking powder and salt.
Divide mixture into two sandwich tins and smooth to an even surface. Brush with lightly whisked egg white.
Bake at 160 degrees C for about 15 minutes. Cut each cake into 8 pieces while still warm.
Makes 16 pieces and stores well in a cake tin – if you can keep your hands off it!!!