Monday, February 25, 2008
Ever heard of this cake? No? Really? All you fantastic cooks out there, you’ve never made this cake? Not even heard of it? Really? How very strange…
Ok, not so strange. Because I made it up The cake is just a pound cake with the ingredients halved because I could not bring myself to use four eggs in one cake. Plus the cake would have been wayyyy too large, even with the kids at home. So, I reduced all the ingredients by half – basically making a half-pound cake.
Then where did the “10 shilling” tag come from, you ask? Aha. Therein lies a very sad little play on words – mmmm... shall we say that I coined it? Ahahahaha!
Ok, here it comes. I’m guessing most of you know that before British pound went decimal in 1971, it was divided into twenty shillings and each shilling was divided into twelve pennies or pence. Although those divisions may seem odd, in fact having a pound divided into 240 equal parts does mean it can be exactly divided into halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, sixths, eighths, tenths, twelfths, fifteenths, sixteenths, twentieths, twenty-fourths, thirtieths, fortieths, forty-eightieths, sixtieths, eightieths, and one-hundred-and-twentieths. A decimal system allows precise division only into halves, quarters, fifths, tenths, twentieths, twenty-fifths, and fiftieths.
(If you math buffs want more of this sort of drivel, you can find the rest of it here.)
Guesses about the origin of the coined title, anybody? No? (I'm assuming no. I Want To Explain. I Have To Explain. How Else Could Anybody Appreciate This Exquisite Sense of Humour and Play on Words?) Ok, here's the explanation. A pound is 20 shillings, or used to be. Half of a pound is 10 shillings. Half of a pound cake, therefore, becomes...? Yes! A 10-shilling cake! Ta-DAAAA!
This 10-shilling cake was lucky to have come out as lovely as it did because in a fit of absentmindedness, instead of adding the butter to the bowl containing sugar (prior to beating the two till light and creamy), I plopped the butter into the bowl in which the egss were waiting to be beaten. Oooops!
Well, in for a penny, in for a pound (or a half-pound, or even 10 shillings! ahahahaha!), so I just tipped the sugar into the egg-butter mixture and beat the resulting mixture to within an inch of its life. It must have learnt its lesson, because the cake was light and crumby and delightfully lemony. Sometimes mistakes CAN be sammaLichufied (Tanglish - Tamil English - for "managed" or "made good").
Recipe for: Lemon 10-shilling cake
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2cups sifted flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
Juice of one lemon
1 cup icing sugar
Enough lemon juice to make thick or runny icing as per taste
1. Preheat oven to 170C. Spray a small (6") bundt pan with Pam, wipe off the excess, and set aside.
2. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar and eggs vigorously, until the batter is light and frothy.
3. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
4. Add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk and lemon juice, beginning and ending with flour.
5. Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake at 170C for 55-65 minutes until cake is lightly browned, set, and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
6. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert onto serving plate and cool completely.
7. Mix icing sugar with lemon juice, then drizzle over the warm cake.
Let cool to set.