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Aunt Kate’s Kitchen: Celebrate your birthday in style with two recipes from the 1930s

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Whenever it was, your most recent birthday probably wasn’t like any other. But Aunt Kate is here to help make the next one get off to a delicious start.

We’re only a few weeks away from it being a year since the first pandemic restrictions were put in place, meaning none of us will have been able to properly celebrate our birthday as we usually would, unless you were lucky enough to have it when restrictions eased at the end of the summer 2020.

In Aunt Kate’s 1933 Baking Book, she has two recipes dedicated to helping you make the most of your special day, including one for a birthday cake and another for birthday whirls.

Aunt Kate was the “original domestic goddess” who wrote recipes and household tips for the People’s Friend and the People’s Journal from the 1880s to the 1960s, and wrote numerous baking and cookbooks during that time.

We’ve tried to convert her original measurements into what we would use today, but some may differ.

For more inspiration, take a look at the previous recipes in this series here.


Birthday Cake

Ingredients

  • 10 oz (approx 285g) butter
  • 10 oz (approx 285g) sugar
  • 14 oz (approx 400g) flour
  • ¼ lb (approx 115g) glace cherries
  • ¼ lb (approx 115g) sultanas
  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ lb (approx 115g) candied peel
  • Vanilla essence
  • 2 oz sweet (approx 55g) almonds
  • French almond paste (or icing of your choosing)

Method

  1. Cream the butter, add the sugar and then the eggs and flour by degrees, beating well at all times.
  2. Chop the peel and cherries, blanch and shred the almonds and pick over the sultanas.
  3. Mix the fruit with a little flour and stir it lightly into the mixture, along with the nuts and a few drops of vanilla to flavour.
  4. Put the mixture into a prepared cake tin, and bake in a moderate oven (approx 175ºC) for 2½ hours. When ready, place the cake on a sieve and leave until cool.
  5. Then cover the top with a thick layer of almond paste (or icing of your choosing) and decorate to taste.

Birthday whirls

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • Salt
  • Carmine (red food colouring)
  • 8 oz (approx 225g) caster sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Coffee essence
  • Pink sugar

Method

  1. Put the egg whites into a bowl with a pinch of salt, and whisk them stiffly with a wire whisk.
  2. Sieve the sugar, and stir it in as lightly as possible with a spoon, folding it rather than mixing.
  3. Divide the preparation into three.
  4. Colour the first with a few drops of carmine, the second with vanilla and the third with coffee.
  5. Put each mixture into a syringe or pastry tube, and force out into thick scrolls on to a tin lined with white, oiled paper.
  6. Sprinkle a little coloured sugar on each and bake in a cool oven (approx 150ºC) until firm.

More in this series…

Aunt Kate’s Kitchen: Old-fashioned roll recipes that will work a treat today

Aunt Kate’s Kitchen: Learn how to make simple pastry with these recipes from the 1930s

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