Littleport Life congratulates this organisation that has done so much for the village since the Women’s Institute began 100 years ago. The members have lent their strength to national campaigns that have been of concern specially to women such as equal pay, gaps in midwifery provision and domestic and other violence against women initiatives and non-specific such as ‘care not custody’ and organ donation.
Of course on the home front, cookery skills have always been a favourite – ever since the women of the WI were called upon to help feed the nation during times of food shortage in wartime.
Baking cake to go with cups of tea as a welcome adjunct to socialising – and charity fund-raising – has always been a popular, and famous, activity.
Littleport Life has reproduced some vintage and some modern recipes to delight your, and your friends and family’s, taste-buds!.
Don’t forget you can go along to any WI meetings held on the second Tuesday evening of the month at the Village Hall as a guest. You are always made welcome and membership is available should you wish to join. For more info please call the President Ms J Bird 01353 863823 or Secretary Ms M Dennis on 961298.
These recipes are from WI federation cookbooks. The original appears first, followed by an updated version. The first reference to Queen Victoria’s taste for sponge cake is in this recipe from Secrets of some Wiltshire Housewives, 1927.
Ingredients for Both Cakes
- 1/4lb butter
- 1/4lb powdered sugar
- 6oz finest sifted flour
- whites of 5 eggs, well beaten to a stiff froth
- large tsp baking powder.
To Make the Silver Cake
- Beat the butter to a cream and add the sugar. Then add the flour and whites of eggs in alternate spoonfuls.
- Mix very well, add a teaspoonful of essence of almonds, and some finely powdered almonds.
- Baking powder to be put in last.
To Make the Gold Cake
- Take the yolks of the 5 eggs, beat up thoroughly and make exactly the same as the silver cake, adding two (not one) teaspoonfuls of baking powder.
- Flavour with a glass of whisky, or add ½ teaspoonful of sal volatile. H Longden, Milton Gold and Silver cakes
(These cakes are said to have been great favourites with Queen Victoria)
Ingredients for Both Cakes
- 125g butter
- 125g caster sugar
- ½ tsp almond essence
- 175g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 5 large egg whites
- 2 tbsp ground almonds
- 2–3 tbsp milk.
Modern Silver Cake
Makes one 18cm round cake Prep 20 minutes Cook 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 1800C/fan oven 1600C/gas mark 4. Cream the butter with the sugar until pale and light, then stir in the almond essence.
- Sift the flour with the baking powder. Whisk the egg whites until holding peaks, then fold into the creamed mixture alternating with the flour, ground almonds and milk to give a soft-dropping consistency. 3 Spoon into a buttered and base-lined 18cm round sandwich cake tin. Level the surface.
- Bake for 30 minutes until firm and pale golden. Turn out and cool on a wire rack. Serve as it is, dusted with silver powder, or split and sandwich with lemon curd and whipped cream.
Modern Gold cake
Makes one 18cm round – or square – cake. Prep 20 minutes Cook 30 – 40 minutes
To make the gold cake follow the silver cake recipe above but omit the almond essence and use 2tsp baking powder. Instead of adding the egg whites, beat in the yolks of 5 eggs after creaming the butter and sugar. Fold in the flour and baking powder with three to four tablespoons of whisky. Finish and cook as above. You can make this cake in a square 18cm tin as an alternative. Cool and serve plain, dusted with gold powder, or topped with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.