A light Victoria Sponge, gooey Chocolate Fudge Brownies, and a sweet Treacle Tart are all delicious treats that do so much more than satisfy your appetite. They bring together loved ones, help celebrate occasions, and, most of all, evoke pleasant memories of when these sumptuous treats first passed your lips. In this delightful collection of bakes, you’ll find classic recipes that are at the heart of home baking; this is the essence of the Meg Rivers bakery, to create traditional cakes, cookies, tarts, and puddings to cherish and enjoy.
Nestled in the English countryside, the bakery started its life when Meg wanted to make cakes for her family that not only tasted good but were also fresh and wholesome. Soon—after her popularity grew at home and abroad—the bakery was born and, now, its mail-order treats travel all around the world for everyone to savour.
If you’ve been searching for the comforting, traditional bakes that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face, look no further than these marvellous recipes.
St. Clement’s Cake
“Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clement’s”—so goes the old English nursery rhyme, so it’s not difficult to guess the signature ingredients of this cake. With subtle undertones of orange liqueur, it’s perfect for summer.
Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 large orange
Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 large lemon
55 g/¼ cup orange marmalade
35 g/¼ cup finely chopped mixed candied peel
2 teaspoons orange liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier
160 g/11 tablespoons salted butter, soft
160 g/¾ cup (caster) sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
40 g/3 tablespoons ground almonds
120 g/1 cup plain/all-purpose flour
50 g/1/3 cup self-raising flour
Candied citrus slices
200 g/1 cup granulated sugar
20 g/1 ½ tabelspoons glucose syrup/liquid glucose
1 orange, sliced 7 mm/1/3 inch thick
1 lemon, sliced 7 mm/1/3 inch thick
8 small panettone cases
To make the candied citrus slices, put the sugar, glucose and 40 ml/2 ½ tablespoons water in a large, stainless steel saucepan and slowly bring to the boil – do not stir. Remove from the heat and using metal tongs, place the fruit in the mixture, ensuring the pieces do not overlap. Over low heat, boil the fruit for about 15 minutes, turning 4 times to ensure even cooking. Let cool in the syrup, then shake off any excess syrup and let dry on waxed paper.
When you are ready to start making the cake, preheat the oven to 170°C (325 f) Gas 3.
Put the citrus zest and juice, marmalade, mixed peel and liqueur in a bowl, stir and let soak. Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs in 2 stages, stirring to a smooth barter each time. With a wooden spoon, fold in the ground almonds and both flours, stirring until smooth. Add the soaked fruit mixture and stir until evenly distributed. Spoon the mixture into the panettone cases and smooth level with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and place a candied citrus slice on each cake. Return to oven for a further 5-10 minutes. A skewer inserted in the middle of the cakes should come out clean. If they appear to be colouring too quickly, cover with baking parchment. Let cool on a wire rack. They will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days or can be frozen for up to 2 months.
VARIATION: To make 1 large cake, make the mixture as above, then spoon into a baking parchment-lined, 18-cm/7-inch round cake pan and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, place the candied cirrus slices on cop, then return to the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Excerpted from Artisan Home Baking by Julian Day, with recipes from Meg Rivers, published by Ryland Peters & Small (CAN $27.95). Photography by Steve Painter © Ryland Peters & Small. Used with permission from the publisher.