Holiday Recipe: Eloisa James’ Tipsy Hedgehog

Holiday Recipe: Eloisa James’ Tipsy Hedgehog

Is there anything better than indulging in a delicious piece of cake while you read? We certainly don’t think so, and historical romance novelist Eloisa James agrees. Here, James shares a recipe for a classic Madeira cake and offers instructions for those readers who want to make the cake a bit tipsy.

Because I write historical romance, I always have an eye out for something an aristocratic female could do when she’s not dancing or dressing or entertaining a gentleman in her bower. Eugenia, the heroine of my next book, Seven Minutes in Heaven, is a gourmand who dreams of financing a tea room—which led me to that splendid, little-known cake, the Tipsy Hedgehog. 

The TH, for short, is a Madeira cake that you cut into an animal shape (be sure to give it a pointy hedgehog nose). Then douse your cake in brandy, rum, or Grand Marnier. Make a stiff cream (with a dose of rum, if you’d like), add raisin eyes, and cover it with upright almond slivers to make quills.

The Tipsy Hedgehog has the charm of looking like a child’s birthday cake, while being emphatically adult! 

Here’s a recipe for a classic Madeira cake:

Mrs. Beaton’s Madeira Cake (1893) 

1 ½ cups butter

5 ½ cups flour

2 cups sugar

rind of 1 lemon

6 eggs

Beat the butter to a cream and dredge in the flour, then add the sugar and the grated lemon-rind, lastly the eggs, well whisked. Beat the mixture well and put it in a buttered tin. Bake in a hot oven from 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Mrs. Beaton adds that the average cost should be just over 2 shillings, and it is “seasonable at any time.”

I would add that 350 degrees works for a “hot oven.”

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