This post shows dedication to the cause, even if I say so myself. I have made this cake three times in the past week. The first time I made it (photo immediately below), it was very crumbly. In Margaret’s defence, she does say the cake is best made the day before it is to be eaten. My cake was not even cold before it was all but gone – no wonder it was crumbly. We hadn’t had lunch and, geez, it was nice. We did leave about a third which I cut the next day. It was significantly better, but still very crumbly.
When I was spooning the dough into the tin, I did say to Maus, “This is very thick,” but didn’t think much of it. Later, I thought about what I had done. Like most old recipes, the ingredients are listed in cups. And, as we all know, my cup of flour may not be your cup of flour. Also, I had used one of Renate’s eggs which are a bit on the small side. Her hens are still young.
I decided to try again. This time, I would weigh the flour, use a large egg and add a little more milk. I went to taste.com.au which told me one cup of flour weighs 150g so I went with that. My second try was equally delicious (we ate about a half on the first day) and less crumbly but still on the crumbly side.
In my first two attempts, I had had trouble creaming the butter and sugar. The first time, I used a hand held electric mixer and the second time, I used my Kenwood Major, each more than capable of creaming butter and sugar. I figured the recipe needed a bit more butter.
Back in Perth with my Mix Master that makes perfectly good cakes, I decided to try again. This time I upped the butter from 45g to 50g but, still, it didn’t really cream – maybe caster sugar next time. This cake (top photo) is the least crumbly of the three.
The recipe calls for the cake to be cooked at 170°C for one hour. Because it is an old book and I have a fan forced oven, I reduced the temperature to 160°C. After 56 minutes, I remembered the cake, whipped it out and checked it. It was well and truly cooked. The second time, I checked it after 50 minutes (I was getting smart) – cooked again! The third time, I checked it after 45 minutes and it wasn’t quite done. I checked it two minutes later and it was done.
The top photo looks like the cake rose more than the other two but I am not sure that is the case. The tin was smaller than the one I was using in Bridgetown. I know I should have thought ahead and used the same tin… but you know how it is.
Now, what is the verdict on the cake? Bloody nice, if a little crumbly.
The recipe is from The Cookbook Guru’s feature cookbook for May and June: The Complete Margaret Fulton Cookbook.
- 50g butter, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar (consider using caster sugar – I will next time)
- grated rind of 1 large or 2 small lemons
- 1 large egg, beaten
- generous ½ cup milk (maybe one or two tablespoons more than the ½ cup)
- 225g of self raising flour
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- Line a nut loaf tin with baking paper.
- Preheat your oven to 160°C if fan forced, otherwise 170°C.
- Cream the butter with the sugar (as best you can).
- Add the lemon rind and the egg and beat until very well combined.
- Sift the flour with the salt.
- Fold in the flour and the milk.
- Add the walnuts and mix to combine.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake in your preheated oven for 45 minutes to one hour. Check after 45 minutes.
- Try not to eat it until the next day. .