Tuesday, November 8

Elizabethan Era Fine Cakes

Fine cakes are an Elizabethan Era dessert. These small bites size cakes are slightly deceiving in name, they are actually more of what we would consider a bar-cookie. But they were a crowd pleaser in nobel households. I am not sure if they were eaten by the general population.

Fine cakes have a great flavor that starts sweet but ends on a buttery note. In fact they are very similar to a shortbread flavor. If your looking to impress at your next holiday gathering try a traditional crowd pleaser.

I recommend that you try to serve this with spiced cider, mulled wines, or hot chocolate. The balance of the little cakes with a warm beverage is extremely nice.

A little note: Traditionally these cakes take on a yellow hue from saffron but I substitute turmeric and food coloring. If desired you can use saffron.

This will make 20-25 little cakes
Full time: 1 1/2 hours (includes cool time)
You will need:

1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, separated white from yolk
1 tsp water
1/2 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
2 drops yellow food coloring

Let us begin:

I would start by sitting your butter out and allowing it to come to room temp. Since refrigerators were non-existent the texture of this relies on the butter being warmish but not melty

Preheat oven to 350

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy

Beat in the egg yolk and coloring, mix well to evenly incorporate

In a separate bowl sift flour and spices together

Blend dry ingredients into wet mixture. You will want to do this by hand, it is a little thicker than you'd expect-it is basically a dough


Grease a 9" square or 11" x 7" pan and push mixture into it


In a small bowl whisk egg white and water together, until it begins to foam.

Now gently brush over top of cake, you want a very thin layer. In fact you will probably not use all the egg.

Place in oven and lower heat to 325

Bake for 35-45 minutes, cake should feel firm in the middle. If not continue baking and check every 5 minutes

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes but no longer.


Cut into squares


Place pan on wire rack and cool 20-30 minutes


Remove cakes from pan and cool on rack, until your ready to serve