Today is Queen Elizabeth's 88th birthday, so it's only appropriate to repost an earlier entry about "her" cake, something all her subject can enjoy.
We may not be able to live the life of Queen Elizabeth, but we can do the next best thing: Bake the only cake she makes herself.
At least according to a recipe card I purchased recently at the amazing vintage cookbook shop of Bonnie Slotnick, a true treasure in Greenwich Village. A note on the card reads:
Whatever its origin, this is a fantastic cake and one that anyone can make. It's a sheet cake, so one needn't fuss with layers and fillings. (Let the servants do that.) There's no heart-stopping moment wondering if the cake will release from the pan, as you serve your guests (or yourself) slice after delicious slice straight from the pan.
I love the instructions that say: Mix in the usual manner. The method I used is detailed below.
Although these look like sliced olives, I can assure you they're dates. And even though I didn't chop them up finely, they seem to blend into the batter so that they're almost indistinguishable in the finished product but add a lovely flavor and texture.
The frosting is as simple and easy as the cake.
Melt the butter, brown sugar and heavy cream in a small pan, above, and cook until it looks like the mixture, below.
Then spread it on the cake, below, and sprinkle with nuts and sweetened coconut.
Queen Elizabeth Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan.
Pour one cup of boiling water over one cup of chopped dates and one tsp. baking soda. Let stand while the following are mixed.
Beat 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter and one cup sugar until smooth.
Add two eggs, one at a time.
Add 1 tsp. vanilla.
Mix 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour with one tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt and add to butter-sugar mixture. Blend until just combined.
Mix in nut and dates (including the "date water.")
Pour in pan and bake for 25 minutes.
Follow the frosting recipe on the recipe card above.
Don tiara and enjoy with your subjects.