These traditional baking recipes are deceptively simple. In the early recipe books written back in the 18th Century, ingredients are listed with some very loosely described instructions.
For example how do you beat butter and sugar until it is as light as cream? This is a frequent instruction in early cookbooks.
For me the clue is that you need to feel the ingredients using your spoon to feel, your eyes to see and your tongue to taste. It is possible to beat butter and sugar until it looks as light as cream but unless you use additional senses such as feeling it (pick up a large quantity on the spoon and drop it back into the bowl – does it feel like whipped cream if you did the same action?) and tasting it (has the grittiness of the sugar almost disappeared so the texture in your mouth is similar to that of whipped cream) it is not possible to know your method. In this instance it is worth noting that some butters will go white more quickly when it is beaten than others.
The selection of recipes chosen is not wide – my purpose here is to encourage you to think about the techniques and methods of bringing certain ingredients together to create an end result. Then make it your own with a twist of a different flavour, the addition of a simple icing or the alteration created by replacing one ingredient for another.
All these recipes are sublime if they are eaten fresh and that is part of the joy. Some foods benefit from a longer storage period in a cake tin as they mature however sponges and breads are foods that benefit from being eaten fresh on the day have been made.
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