Today’s recipe for Tunbridge Cakes is attributed to Allic (possibly Alice or Alec).
The caraway flavour of these biscuits recalls the 18th century Shrewsbury biscuit recipe, but in appearance and texture they are reminiscent of the ‘bara’ pikelets we looked at back in May.
The dry ingredients – flour, caraway seeds, sugar – are beaten with eggs, butter, cream and plenty of water and milk to form a stiff batter rather than a dough. Dropped onto a griddle pan, the surface of each thin patty is then pricked with a feather before they being baked in the oven.
Allics Tunbridge Cakes
Take 3 pd of flower. Dry it well. Sift it after it is dry. Put to it 1 ounce of carraway seeds. Beat up the whites of 4 eggs with a qr of dubble refind sugar. Melt 3 prints of butter with 3 spoonfulls of cream, & as much milk & water as will wet the flower, with yr sugar & eggs. Make yr cake as thin as possible & put on papers butterd & flowerd. Prick them very with a bunch of small quills to keep them from blistering. Let yr oven be pritty hot & the heat so fall, or the will be bak’d very well on a gridle. When they are bak’d on a gridle, they must be beat down with yr hand all the while they are baking or they will rise in blisters.
It’s a quick and easy recipe and easy to cook up in a modern kitchen. So if you’re up for getting a real taste of Georgian cuisine, or just want an interesting talking point at a family brunch, give Allics Tunbridge Cakes a try!
Just a quick warning: the original quantities will make a lot of cakes! Here is a brief list of the things you’ll need to make a more modest and manageable batch:
450g plain flour
1 tbsp double cream
40 g butter
40g caster sugar
2-3 tsp caraway seeds