I say, in keeping with the spirit of The Championships, Wimbledon, one hoped to stumble across a recipe with a tennis connection. Well, lo and behold whilst flicking through my 1906 edition of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, there I discovered a recipe for Tennis Cake!
Miss Windsor’s spin on Mrs Beeton’s most decadent, moist and luxurious Tennis Cake boasts an appealing light texture and colour - bestrewn with a plenteous amount of chopped almonds and flavoured with a subtle zing of lemon.
Darlings, before we proceed any further, I shall indulge you with some quick-fire facts about The Championships, Wimbledon! Now, for those who are not in the know-how regarding the history of this world renown All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, it held it's first ever "men’s singles" tournament in 1877.
The said tournament was attended by 200 male spectators, who paid a "shilling piece" for the privilege. Yet I was horrified to learn that during such era the presence of a woman was not permitted, “What a blimmin’ cheek,” I hear you shriek! Also, according to my research those devilishly lucky chaps feasted on strawberries and cream, which soon became a Wimbledon speciality!
Now, eager to step away from the traditions of the rather frabjous, well-loved, simple, yet iconic, summery British dessert of fresh strawberries and cream. Therefore, I relished the opportunity to dazzle your senses with Mrs Beeton’s frightfully mouth-watering, Victorian recipe for TENNIS CAKE.
You see, Miss Windsor is a huge fan of baking with rum, so of course, one felt compelled to soak the dried fruit in a generous dousing of Wray & Nephew White Rum. However, please substitute with orange juice if you're recreating this cake for the "teetotal" society, or if the taste of rum just isn't your cup of tea!
Darlings, following Mrs Beeton’s most welcome counsel, our culinary marvel suggests, “Suitable for a tennis afternoon tea” – you don't say, Mrs Beeton! Therefore, this perfect sweet treat must be consumed during those warm and blooming months of "summertide"; and goes down rather well with a cheeky tipple of Pimms' No.1 Cup, or a dainty cuppa of Rosie Lee - How spiffing!
Oh, and for those who are wondering what the heck is Pimm's No.1 Cup - it's a terribly posh, gin-based, herbaceous cocktail. In fact, during the early 1800’s Mr James Pimms of London apparently invented this alcoholic beverage to promote one’s health! Thus, little did he know this would become one of the preferred refreshments imbibed by spectators at Wimbledon.
So, darlings, now "the ball is in your court", so to speak! please dash off to your kitchen and have a jolly good go at recreating this age-old, palate tickling baked goodie - Toot sweet!
ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY MISS WINDSOR
Preparation time: 50 mins
Cooking time: 1 & 1/2 hrs
Serves 8-10 delightful guests!
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