retro recipes for the modern baker

Category: Cake

Date and Ginger Slab

Date and Ginger Slab. It’s a dark, sticky, sweet, cake-like traybake. A little like a gingerbread but not as heavily spiced. And very dark and sticky from all the treacle. I have a recipe for Ginger Cake on the blog already and multiple recipes for traybakes with dates and traybakes with ginger and even some traybakes with dates and ginger like these Date and Ginger Crunchies, so this Date and Ginger Slab is in good company!

Another easy one, just some melting and mixing required. Don’t chop the dates too small and just melt the wet ingredients long enough to soften the dates as you want to have some obvious pieces of date through this bake.

If you can’t get hold of treacle easily (I need to go to a specialist import store to get hold of it here in the US) you can substitute molasses. They are remarkably similar, but the treacle is a little sweeter and darker, in my opinion. I did a side-by-side comparison when I was making my Treacle Scones if you want to look at the differences.

A partly eaten date and ginger square with fork, sitting on a white plate
Ingredients

4oz/110g butter

4oz/110g treacle or molasses

8oz/225g plain flour (all-purpose flour)

4 fl oz/120ml water

0.5 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

4oz/110g granulated sugar

6oz/175g dates, chopped

1 egg

2 tsp ground ginger

Method
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F/180C and line a 20 cm/8 inch tin with baking parchment.
  2. Place the butter, sugar, dates and treacle in a saucepan with the water and melt over a low heat.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool a little. Then add the baking soda and beat in the egg.
  4. Gradually mix in the flour and ginger until well combined.
  5. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Leave to cool in the tin before turning out and cutting into squares.
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Paris Buns

Paris Buns. It’s not a cake. It’s not a scone. It’s something in-between. Best eaten fresh from the oven with a cup of tea. I’d also recommend eating these on the day they are made as they don’t keep that well, but I didn’t find that to be a problem in our house.

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Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake

Straying from my no-bake traybake territory this week with an easy Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake. This cake is soft and moist in the center, filled with walnuts and smothered with a coffee flavored buttercream.

If you can get hold of Camp Coffee Essence, then you can use that to flavor your cake. If you can’t, then dissolve 1 tbsp of instant coffee in 1 tbsp of warm water and use that instead. Or, if you prefer a stronger coffee taste, you can use 2 tbsp coffee to 1 tbsp water.

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Queen Cakes

Queen Cakes are a simple, straightforward bake, essentially a fairy cake/wee bun with raisins. If you don’t have raisins, then any dried fruit will do. Or even chocolate chips, which was the addition of choice for Little Miss Traybakes.

Now, as you can see from the photographs, my bun cases are a little larger than I needed for these Queen Cakes. I guess they are US cupcake sized. The recipe makes 12 traditional sized cakes and my bun cases were about half-full before they went into the oven. You probably want to aim for three-quarters full if you have larger cases and want the buns to fill them completely. But, hey, no one complained in our house!

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Yogurt Cake

I have fond memories of making this Yogurt Cake as a child. In fact, the old recipe I found for this in the kitchen cabinet at Mummy Traybakes’ house was handwritten (very carefully) in my writing. It’s a great cake to bake with children and they can easily help with the measuring and mixing.

I used to make this in a 2lb loaf tin and tried that again with Little Miss Traybakes when we made it together. Now, either my loaf tin is smaller than the one I used to use, or yogurt pots have grown. Personally, I think that the yogurts in my fridge are probably larger than what we had when I was younger, so I decided to remake the cake in a round 8″ cake tin and that worked perfectly. If your yogurt pot is on the smaller size (4oz or thereabouts) then the loaf tin will work. For anything larger, like the 5.3oz/150g pots we had in our fridge, then a larger tin is the way forward.

You can use plain yogurt or flavored yogurt, it really doesn’t matter. And some of those ‘fruit on the bottom’ yogurts will add a nice bit of interest to the finished cake. However, I’m quite partial to a plain yogurt cake. It has a subtle tang, moist texture and it keeps really well.

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Ginger Cake

The festive season is well and truly upon us here at Traybakes HQ. The tree is up and covered in an array of ornaments, bought and homemade, and there are even a few presents underneath (Little Miss Traybakes has been very well behaved and isn’t shaking hers too much!). We’ve had our first snowfall and first sledding expedition. We’re introducing more Americans to the wonders of a good homemade mince pie and while we’re waiting for the Christmas cake to be iced, we’ve been enjoying this rich, spiced Ginger Cake.

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Lemon Butter Cake

This is a very easy cake to bake.  It’s tangy and moist and you can throw it together very quickly.  Not literally.  Don’t throw cakes.  It’s a waste of cake.

This was a recipe in one of my ‘retro’ Northern Irish traybake books.  Yes, I know, it’s not a traybake, but reading through the books, I spotted this and thought it looked interesting.

It pretty much is a Lemon Drizzle Cake and requires you to do very little work.  You melt some butter and mix it with sugar, eggs and flour.  It’s that simple!  Then, when cooked, you top it with lemon juice and sugar.

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