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
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.”