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Queen Cakes

 Queen Cakes

How could a person not fall in love immediately with something which is called a Queen Cake???

 I think that would be a very difficult thing to do . . .  but these are not just cakes to fall in love with . . . these are cakes with a bit of a history, and I do so love to eat food with a history.

Queen Cakes

There are recipes for Queen Cakes which date back as far as the 18th century, with little or no variation from the one which I have here for you today.

Queen Cakes

Essentially they are small individual cakes . . . composed of local fresh and honest ingredients . . . butter, sugar, flour and eggs . . . and lots of sweet, little dried currants.   

You must not leave these out.   One of these without currants . . . is not technically . . . a Queen Cake.  Currants are an absolute given.

Queen Cakes

Simple and good, the ones I baked to day are flavoured simply with fresh un-waxed lemon zest . . . but I have also seen recipes requiring the use of rose water or orange flower water.  

 I like the lemon zest myself . . . but then I am awfully fond of lemon.

 Queen Cakes

These were particularly popular during the reign of Queen Victoria, almost patriotically so. We've been watching a series on the telly this week on the children of Queen Victoria.

I do believe she was not particularly fond of small children . . . however judging her girth . . . I do think she was probably rather more fond of Queen Cakes. 

I am not one to point fingers however.  I am rather fond of them myself and I also have the girth to prove it.

 Queen Cakes

Surely I jest . . . and it's all in fun, just like these lovely little cakes.  

Always baked in little tins . . . patty pans, bun tins . . . and here today little heart shaped tins . . . they delight the eye and the taste.

 Queen Cakes

Who wouldn't love a small cake, perfectly sized . . . just for them.

Sweet and buttery, filled with lovely currants . . . fit for a Queen.

Queen Cakes

Who indeed?   Not me!  These are incredibly scrummy, which just goes to prove . . . yet again . . . tasty food does not have to be complicated.

It only needs a bit of skill, and good honest ingredients, well prepared.

Queen Cakes

Sometimes called heart cakes . . . you will find yourself wanting to lick the bowl clean.  

Is it just me, or does cake batter . . . licked from sticky fingers . . . taste amazingly heavenly? 

*Queen Cakes*
Makes 12 small buns
or 8 heart shaped cakes
Printable Recipe

Dating from the 18th century, these cakes have always been baked in small individual tins, either patty pans or individual heart shaped molds.   Sweet and buttery, flavoured with lemon, and stogged full of lovely dried currants

125g soft butter (generous half cup)
125g caster sugar (2/3 cup)
2 large free range eggs
150g plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
the finely grated zest of one un-waxed lemon
125g of dried currants (scant cup)
a splash of milk

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.   Butter a 12 hole patty pan, or 8 heart shaped pans.  Line the bottoms of the heart tins with baking paper, and the patty pans with paper cases.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, eating well after each addition.   Beat in the lemon zest.  Sift together the flour and baking powder.  Stir in the currants.  Using a large metal spoon, fold in the flour mixture, along with a splash of milk, to give a gentle dropping consistency.   Spoon into the prepared cases, filling each no more than 2/3 full.

Bake in the heated oven for 20 minutes, until well risen and the tops spring back when lightly touched.  Allow to cool in the tins for 5 to 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Delicious when fresh, but can be stored in an airtight container for up to two days.

 Tune in tomorrow for some tasty Cherry and Almond Scones! ☺ 

Marie Rayner
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  1. These look so yummy!! Now I just have to find a heart-shaped tin... somewhere... I shall search, I must make them. I love food with a history too! :)

  2. When I was little we called these fire cakes. We could never wait for them to cool and would always end up with a burnt tongue.

  3. Hi Marie. This is my first visit to your blog which I think is splendid. I like to explore the world's cuisine and will not spare English food. I'm a big fan of Jamie Oliver and Nigella. Love your blog already and I shall be glad to follow you. This queen cakes is superb. The texture reminds me of madeleine.

  4. They are darling..

    Downton Abbey Darling..Forsyte Saga darling:)

  5. They do look so good,I need to get a heart shape pan as soon as I can.oooxxx

  6. Very dainty and they look delicious!

  7. Queen of Hearts to be precise : )
    They look lovely in their simplicity.

  8. I am hoping you can share where you bought your heart shaped multi tin ?

  9. Hi Coral, I used individual metal cake tins which make mini heart shaped cakes, which I had gotten in North America and brought over a while back, but you can get heart shaped multi tins (Silicone which you won't need to butter or line) at Amazon UK Here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Silikomart-Silicone-Heart-Muffin-Pan/dp/B002OHDA2M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1357456293&sr=8-2

    You can get a multi tin in metal from Cake World: http://www.cakecraftworld.co.uk/products.asp?cc=69&scc=441

    Hope this helps. Also Divertimenti is a valuable resource for many cookery items.

  10. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm so dainty! A perfect use for some cutters I never use.

  11. Those look wonderful~ Fantes in the US has heart (6 to a pan) shapes that look like they would work.

  12. Oh - here's the link to the heart pan at Fantes - http://www.fantes.com/images/2588heartpans.jpg

  13. Thank you Martha!! I'm sure my American readers will appreciate! Tis very kind of you to let us know! Tihat pan looks perfect!!

  14. Hi Marie,
    My mother had the same recipe in her English cookbook she brought to Canada when we immigrated here. Her recipe always called for self-raising flour (and parchment wrapped margarine). I note your side bar says you can make your own self-raising flour by adding 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of salt to each cup of flour. I note your recipe differs from hers as it includes some baking powder, which almost makes it self-raising, but does not include salt. Was salt omitted from the recipe accidentally, or does this receipt not require it?

    I was pleased to find your website, for real, English food. I love Jamie, but he uses a lot of ingredients my kiddies won't touch, and I look forward to making many of your recipes in future! Thanks so much for making this blog!

  15. Thanks Elizabeth. I don't use salt in this because I am using salted butter. I find that is usually enough salt, but you can add a pinch if you wish! Happy to meet you!

  16. Thanks so much, these look super tasty. it's a pity i can't find soft butter in my local store. will regular do?

    1. Hi Kate, just use regular butter at room temperature! I hope you enjoy these! Oh heck, I know that you will! Xo

  17. I can't get currants...is there a substitution please? Thank you..

    1. You could use raising, but chop them a bit, so that they are in smaller pieces. Hope this hslps!

  18. Hi
    I’ve made your recipe a couple of times and it’s lovely. I read your replies to other comments and see you say that you’re using salted butter! You don’t say that in the ingredient list? I have sone in the oven now and instead of a splash of milk I used the juice from the lemon, I’m hoping it turns out well😃 cheers!

    1. I am sure that it will turn out well. Fingers crossed. Generally speaking I usually use lightly salted butter (I always use Lurpak Danish butter). It is a lot easier and more practical for me to just keep the one kind of butter in the house now, especially with the pandemic and not being able to go out to shop. I'll be honest and say up front, I have never noticed much difference between using salted or unsalted butter, which is probably because Lurpak is only lightly salted. Let me know how you get on! xoxo

  19. They are just as good (better) made with sultanas

  20. I am sure they are! We like both!


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