Tottenham Cake

This week’s “Baked Geography” is from London, specifically Tottenham, which is an area of north London about 6 miles (10 kilometres) from the centre.

Tottenham hasn’t always been part of London.  In the times of the Domesday Book it was a hamlet beside the Roman road linking London with Lincoln and York (Ermine Street).  However, London has gradually expanded, and the countryside has been filled with housing, so that Tottenham is now part of the city.

The Smith family are from London on the south side of the River Thames, and they are going to help you make Tottenham Cake.

Taster dad said, “A nice fluffy sponge,” and “Able to taste all the flavours of topping; raspberry and coconut”. “The cake though is quite sugary” so “probably not very healthy”.  Apparently, he needed to sample 3 pieces to be sure of those conclusions!

You will need:

  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Finely grated zest of half a lemon
  • 125g unsalted butter or margarine
  • 125g sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk

And for the icing:

  • 125g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mulberry (or raspberry or blackberry) juice
  • 1 tablespoon water or lemon juice
  • Desiccated coconut for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F or Gas 4.

The cake is usually cut into squares so you should bake it in a rectangular tin if possible.  A baking tin of 22cm x 15cm would be ideal for this recipe.  Grease it and line it so that the cake doesn’t stick.

Put the flour into a large bowl and stir in the baking powder and lemon zest.

Take another large bowl.  Put the butter/margarine and sugar into this one and use a wooden spoon to mix them together.  Beat the mixture well.

Add one egg and beat thoroughly.  You want to get plenty of air bubbles in the mixture.

Add the other egg and beat thoroughly again.

Now start to add the flour, a bit at a time.  Stir it well but don’t beat it because that would help the air bubbles to escape.

Finally, very carefully, stir in the milk.  You want to mix it in but don’t stir any more than you need to, so that the air bubbles stay in the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the greased and lined tin.  You can use a knife to smooth the top.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

To check that the cake is cooked through, push a skewer or a knife into the middle and pull it back out.  If it comes out covered in cake mixture, then it needs longer in the oven.

When you are sure that it is cooked through, bring it out of the oven but let it sit in the tin for 15 minutes.  Then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cake is cold, make the icing.

Put the icing sugar into a bowl with the red juice.  Add just enough lemon juice or water to make the icing runny and spreadable.

Spread on the top of the cake and, if you want to, you can sprinkle with coconut.

Once the icing is hard, cut the cake into squares and serve.

The recipe says that it will keep for a week in an airtight container, but I don’t think the Smiths tested that bit!