Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday morning tea - crunchy amber cake

I recently wrote about the treasured recipes in my grandmother's cookbook and mentioned in passing that a 'crunchy amber cake' won the 1965 Butter/White Wings bake-off. I then received an email from Sally, who had eaten Crunchy Amber Cake many years ago and was keen for the recipe so she could make it again.

I must admit that when I initially looked at the recipe, I was dismissive of it. But, in the interests of research, I thought I should try the recipe before I posted it for Sally, so at least I would have an idea of what the cake was like.

Well, I'm glad I tried it! My initial scepticism was misplaced. Although there are several steps involved in making this cake, it's surprisingly easy to make and looks quite impressive. A butter sponge is sandwiched together with a caramel custard and topped with a meringue topping that is browned in the oven. The finished product looks quite impressive (sadly I don't have a photo to show, as the hungry hordes descended on the cake the moment it came out of the oven and demolished it before I could get the camera) and would make a nice dessert cake. It's quite sweet, so small slices suffice. However, because of the meringue topping, it's best eaten on the day it's made.

As supplied by Mrs B. D. Calvert of Tasmania - the winner of the Butter/White Wings 1965 bake-off competition.

Cake mixture
125g butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 whole egg, plus one egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup milk

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat lightly. Fold in flour alternately with milk, mix well. Divide mixture into two 7-inch layer tins [note - I used one 8-inch round cake tin and just sliced the cake in half]. Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees) for 20 minutes [if you bake in one tin, the cake will take 30-40 minutes to cook]. Remove from tins and cool.

90g butter
4 level tablespoons brown sugar
2 level tablespoons cornflour
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat. Add cornflour and salt and stir until smooth. Return to heat and cook gently, stirring all the time. Beat together the egg yolk, milk and vanilla. Add slowly to mixture and stir well. Bring to the boil and cook for two minutes. Cool. (The mixture should thicken as it cools, so you may need to put it in the fridge to thicken it up. You want it to be spreadable but not runny).

2 egg whites
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon coconut
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon slivered almonds

Beat egg whites stiffly; add sugar slowly. Beat until smooth. Combine coconut, sugar, cinnamon and almonds in a separate bowl. Spread the filling between the cakes. Spread the egg-white mixture over cakes, then sprinkle the sugar and spice mix over this. Heat the oven to 200 degrees and turn off. Place the completed cake in the oven for five minutes to set the topping.


Deborah said...

I have never heard of this kind of cake before, but it sounds wonderful!!

Melinda said...

This was a new cake for me to discover as well but it's definitely worth making!

Anonymous said...

Hi Melinda, my mother used to bake this cake on special occassions when we were kids in the late 60s and 70s. Then we lost the recipe. I must have googled amber cake 1000 times over the years.
Imagine my pleasure when it finally popped up.
All I can say is you're an angel!
and to everyone out there this the best special occassion cake you will ever make.

Anonymous said...

oh. this is so exciting. my younger sister had a friend... whose mother used to make this. the recipe she guarded with her life.. (well, she did sell them to the local bakery-and this was her guarantee of sale i guess!) so now, 20 years later, i can have a try of making it. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. My best friends mother made this cake and I just loved it but have never been able to find the recipe. It's my husband's 40th birthday and he has the biggest sweet tooth and I know he will simply adore this fab cake. Thank you again!