You may have noticed in a previous post that we recently digitised The original and only Miss Drake's home cookery earlier this year. Miss Lucy Drake taught domestic science at Swinburne from 1913 up until to her untimely death in 1923. During her years at Swinburne, she trained a large number of young women - many too that went on to teach domestic arts all over Australia. Miss Drake's obituary reveals that she received the foundation of her training through the Education Department of Victoria and finished at South Kensington, London, where she gained much distinction. Miss Drake also published many excellent text books on plain and specialised cookery.
Given that Christmas is almost upon us, we thought we'd try our hand at making Miss Drake's (tried-and-tested) Christmas cake and share the experience.
Here we go then:
1 ½ lbs. plain flour, 6 tablespoons self-raising flour, 1½ lbs. butter, 1½ lbs. castor sugar, 12 eggs, 1 gill brandy, 3 ozs. cherries, 6 ozs. figs, ¾ lb. muscatels, ½ lb almonds, 1 ½ lb. sultanas, ½ lb. citron peel shredded, essence vanilla, almond and lemon.Note: If you too would like to have a go at this cake but you're unsure about cooking using imperial measurements, use an imperial to metric converter as we did.
1. Gather ingredients.
2. Sift flour.
3. Prepare cake tin.
4. Prepare the fruit.
5. Light the oven (gas half on) (not sure what this mean exactly)
6. Cream butter and sugar till quite soft and white.
7. Add eggs, one at a time, beating in well. Add lemon juice, then half the fruit and half the flour. Mix well; then add the rest of fruit and flour.
Moderate oven (this translates today as about 150 degrees celsius or 120 fan forced for about 1½ hours)
Despite our initial hesitations in working with a century-old recipe, modern oven (and 12 eggs!), we're pleased to report that it turned out very well in the end. Admittedly, we did make a few changes and added some Christmas spices (freshly grated nutmeg, cinnamon and all spice).
We're not too sure how long a cake such as this would have lasted. Perhaps the reason for so many eggs was to aid the keeping qualities of the cake, we don't know. Given how it tastes, it's probably not going to last that long enough to worry.
Thank you Miss Drake and a Merry Christmas to everyone!