After many hours spent lurking in the bakery, I discovered the Tottenham Cake. This intrigued me – Why call it a Tottenham Cake? Why have pink icing? Why cut it as a perfect square? This inspired me to do some research, hence this blog post. Recipe Follows!
“A Peculiar Local Invention” – Ted Willis
According to a Tottenham Hotspur fan site, the Tottenham Cake derives from baker Henry Chalkley who originally sold these pink spongy squares at the price of one old penny and smaller odd-shaped pieces were sold for half a penny. So why the pink icing? Well, the pink icing is thought to have come from the mulberries which were found growing at the Tottenham Friends burial ground.
Although not directly linked with the football team, it is suggested by Ted Willis that in 1901, the Tottenham cake was given away for free (!) to local children to celebrate the Spurs’ FA Cup victory.
150g/6 oz Softened Butter
150g/6 oz Caster Sugar
150g/6 oz Self-Raising Flour, Sifted
3 Medium Eggs
1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Essence (Optional)
125g/5oz Sifted Icing Sugar
Pink Food Colouring
Handful of Desiccated Coconut (Completely up to you how much coconut you want to sprinkle on!)
1. Pre-heat oven at gas mark 4 or 180ºC / 350ºF
2. Line a square tin with grease-proof paper.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar until it becomes a light, fluffy mixture and pale in colour.
4. Add in the 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla essence if required.
5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, whilst adding a tablespoon of sifted flour with each egg. (Tip! As soon as the self-raising flour hits the mixture, it begins to react with the other ingredients and the air, affecting its rising ability. Therefore, as soon as your done with this step, get your mixture in the oven – sharpish!)
6. Pour the mixture into your square tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. (Tip! Try to avoid opening the oven whilst the cake is cooking as the air may cause the mixture to sink! To check if your cake is ready, using a fork or skewer, insert this into the cake. If the fork comes out clean and is not sticky, your cake is ready! If not, pop your cake back in the oven for a few more minutes.)
7. Once your cake is cool, its time to add the pink icing! Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, gradually adding the water. (Tip! If icing is too watery, add additional icing sugar. If icing is too thick, add more water. Icing is tricky to get spot on first time, therefore judge your mixture carefully.)
8. Add a drop of the pink food colouring into your icing. Your icing should be a pale/medium pink therefore add the smallest amount. Once you have your icing, pour and spread this over your cake.
9. Sprinkle desiccated coconut on top of the icing. Leave to set and cut into squares.
This recipe is super-easy, yet really tasty. Plus, you can impress all your friends with the history of the Tottenham Cake!
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