Historic Baking – Date and Walnut Cake

FullSizeRenderI decided to try the recipe from a pamphlet entitled ‘20th Century Cookery – how to cook by electricity’. As a recent convert at home from gas to electricity I was keen to give it a try. However the instructions were rather vague when it came to the temperature settings, referring to the initial oven temperature to be set to ‘Full’ but when you put the cake in to switch it to ‘Low’. I know ovens have become more sophisticated in recent times, in fact somewhat over complicated, to the extent that I always wonder if I’m using the best setting for what I need to cook. I did manage to adapt the recipe to what I thought were the correct temperatures but what really foxed me was the last instruction to ‘finish without current’! Was I to turn the oven off completely? It was supposed to take 1 ½hrs to cook. I decided to leave it on very low as efficient modern fan ovens also cool down quite quickly and would be stone cold IMG_11851 ½ hours later. I am pleased to say the resultant cake was cooked, if somewhat dry. Needless to say the Record Office tasting team didn’t seem at all reluctant to give it try and as long as you had a drink to wash it down, it seemed to get the thumbs up.

I however, will not be adding this to my own cake recipe collection. I’ll stick to a lovely moist date and walnut cake recipe handed down from my mum. She originally made it from a Jimmy Young Show recipe booklet. I’m sure all of you over a certain age will remember the catch phrase ‘what’s the recipe today Jim?’ from his daily radio show in the 1970s. This booklet too should become an archive, but I’ve made the same recipe so many times now I can just about do it from memory.

Clare Snoad


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