When a lovely colleague at my other half's work was kind enough to bring me a load of delicious tea from Sri Lanka recently, I decided I had to make a tea cake for her as a way of saying thanks.
Unlike most of my other MoFo recipes, this cake doesn't have a history to it you can find on Wikipedia. That's not to say it's without history, though.
It's a recipe for a tea cake (that's a cake made with tea, not a teacake, which is a separate and equally English thing - more here!) that I tore out of a newspaper a few years ago. It featured in a series of articles called Eat with the Ancestors, where people shared recipes they got from their family.
This recipe was notable for being vegan - yes, a vegan recipe that dates from decades ago! Turns out it was a recipe that the person who featured in the article got from their granny, who used it in World War II.
Because eggs were hard to come by in England in the war so people developed recipes for sweet treats without them. Tea was rationed, but it still crops up in recipes from the time - I guess it's one way to use up the cuppa you forgot about and it went cold.
Alas, I don't have the name of the person who submitted the recipe or their granny who created it, but consider this my salute to both!
Makes 8 slices
One cup of tea
4oz vegan butter/margarine
1oz mixed peel
A couple of dried figs, chopped into little pieces
4oz caster sugar
6oz self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
Quarter-teaspoon of bicarb of soda
Pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, and dried ginger
What you do
Preheat your oven to 150C.
Pour the tea, vegan margarine, sultanas, mixed peel and dried figs into a pan, bring to a simmer and simmer for a few minutes. Set to one side for a bit to cool.
Put the sugar, flour, salt, sodium bicarb, and spices into a bowl and mix.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ones and mix well.
Pour into a shallow flan dish and bake for until set - an hour or so.
Cut into eight wedges and serve with more tea!