Thursday, February 7, 2013

{Vintage Kitchen} Famous for your teas (1947)

It really isn't difficult to become tea famous and tea can be made quite a delicious meal with very little trouble. Tea-time baking is one of the most enjoyable forms of cookery, too. Nothing gives a cook a greater sense of satisfaction than to take a batch of golden scones or a perfect cake from the oven, and every housewife knows the glow of pride she has when her visitors round the tea-table exclaim, "Nobody has teas like yours!"

So here are some recipes to help you become famous for your teas.

Bear in mind that this is not long post-war and food rationing is still very much in force, so these cake recipes are light on sugar and fat, and heavy on cheap flour (although flour rationing had just been introduced the previous year due to Britain's disastrous wheat harvest) - compare the proportions to a classic Victoria sponge which uses equal measures of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Also note: NO CUPCAKES. Despite their acquired reputation as a 'vintage' tea-time treat, cupcakes were rarely seen on tea tables in the 40s and 50s - if they were made at all, it was for children's parties and they were called fairy cakes.

I put it to a vote, and the ginger cake won out. I used double the amount of ground ginger in the recipe, adding two generous teaspoons - and it could even do with another one for a richer ginger taste. I used wholemeal self-raising for about a quarter of the flour, and also replaced some of the caster sugar with soft light brown sugar for a more molasses-y flavour. Other than that I made the usual substitutions - real butter instead of margarine, and real eggs instead of dried. Oh, and I forgot to add sultanas - oops.

The result was more of a tea-loaf than a cake - as you might expect the proportionally low sugar and fat content leaves it somewhat drier than a classic sticky ginger cake (adding sultanas would probably help combat this), but goes very nicely with a cup of tea.

Oh, and in case you're wondering (I had to google it), a "gill" is a quarter of a pint - 5 fluid oz or 142ml.


  1. This is most definitely the month for sweets (and not just the kind that come in red heart shaped boxes), and all of these cakes sound - and look - delicious. I love gingerbread/ginger cake, too. It's such a lovely year round treats long after the Christmas season is over. I love it with blueberry sauce in the late spring, peaches (all the better if they're grilled) in the summer, and poached pears come fall.

    ♥ Jessica

  2. These are interesting posts. Neither my mother nor my granny would touch margarine with a barge pole and it was because of the disgusting stuff they had during the war, although having a few cows they weren't as badly off as others for this commodity.

  3. I'm really enjoying your vintage kitchen posts. I love finding old recipes, they give a real insight into what it was like to cook in such hard times.

  4. Hmmm... I'm beginning to think the raisins/sultanas being left out is deliberate ;) Looks yummy though!

  5. Thank you for posting these lovely recipes, your ginger cake looks delicious :)

  6. I thought you would be interested to know that my copy of Woman's Weekly for June 3rd 1930 has a recipe for 'Iced Cup Cakes' ('Little Cakes to Delight the Sweet Tooth!'. It is part of 'The Young Bride's Cake-Making Course'.

    I was surprised to see it as like you I assumed Cup Cakes were a recent import. Having said that I have never seen it in any other magazines I have from 1930s to end of 1940s and they are not in any of my vintage (again 30s/40s) cook books.

    I do miss fairy cakes - so much prettier!


I'd love to hear your thoughts!


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