Welcome Downton Abbey fans. We are all now in Downton Downtime. UK fans just finished a lovely meal of Season 3, and now waiting for the dessert course: the Christmas Special. Meanwhile, North Americans are still waiting to be seated for the Season 3 service. Appetizers in the form of a special recap episode (Downton Abbey Revisited) will be offered on PBS on November 25th.
Each Tuesday I dish on Downton Abbey and other topical issues one might discuss at tea, served up with a recipe with history. You may find my Online Guide to Afternoon Tea helpful in understanding traditions and recipes to serve at your own tea party. Today’s treat is Madeira Cake.
Anyone can be a Downton Abbey Cook
A heart felt thank you for sharing my passion for Downton Abbey, history and food. Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube through the links in the sidebar. Keep sending me pics and I will post them here.
VPT’s Experience Inspired by Downton Abbey: Jan. 5/6
Vermont Public Television is hosting a Downton inspired culinary weekend January 5th/6th to launch Season 3 at the renowned Essex Resort. Lord D and I look forward to this wonderful event of fabulous Downton food and festivity, with a Saturday night
screening of S3E1 on a large screen.
I am truly honored that chefs have chosen to serving my own smoked salmon pinwheels.
Abbey Cooks Entertain
have been working part time on an ecookbook, a collection of recipes to share with Downton Abbey fans. It is a labour of love which I hope will inspire you to become the head cook in your own Abbey. Your comments have inspired me to share the best foods of that era which we still eat today, making adjustments to make them healthier, but still just as tasty.
The book has lots of pictures of Downton era foods organized by specific types of Downton entertaining: brunch, afternoon tea, garden parties, dinner parties, cocktails, holidays, and weddings.
Season Three has now ended, and we look forward to the Christmas episode and what might be in store for Season 4.
Light Madeira Cake
Edwardians were mad about Madeira, a fortified Portuguese wine which is made in the Madeira Islands. They drank Madeira as an aperitif and with dessert.
The loved it so much they created a dense sponge cake, originally made to accompany a nice glass of Madeira. So, no the cake does not actually have Madeira in it, it does not come from the Madiera Islands, and it can be eaten at tea.
LIGHT MADEIRA CAKE
- 3/4 cups applesauce
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup caster sugar (sugar substitute)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp. nonfat plain yoghurt
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose plain flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 7 inch round cake pan or 9” loaf pan and line with parchment paper. It is OK to use a 8″ or 9″ US standard pan; the cake just won’t be as high. For individual tea servings you can also pour the batter into mini bundt cake pans.
- Cream the butter with the sugar, applesauce and vanilla extract until pale and fluffy, then gradually beat in the eggs.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda. Gently fold into the wet mixture, add the yoghurt, then the lemon juice and zest.
- Turn into the prepared tin of your choicw, and sprinkle an additional 2 tbsp. sugar on top of the cake. To help rid large bubbles in your cake, slap the pan on your counter a number of times to allow the bubbles to escape. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. It is normal to have cracks in your loaf.
- Let the cake cool completely before removing from the pan or it may fall. Decorate with icing sugar and lemon peel. Serve with a glass of madeira or with friends at tea.