To many people, well actually most people, they don’t really know what Tottenham Cake is. But work or live in the Eastend of London and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
I worked in Hackney, in London’s East end for over 10 years, and was lucky to regularly enjoy delights from Percy Ingles Bakery, from ‘down the Roman Road’….and wow did they have some yummy delights. Percy Ingles is a household name in Hackney, but step away from the Capital and few people will know what you’re talking about. It is a family bakery with over 50 shops in London and makes a great classic Tottenham Cake.
But what is Tottenham Cake? I remember the first time someone bought some into the office it reminded me of cakes I used to eat as a child. It’s light, sweet sponge covered in bright pink glacé icing.
However, if you delve a bit deeper, and it has real history. It was first made in the late 1800’s by a Baker called Henry Chalkley, who was a Quaker. He baked it in long trays and cut it into cubes which were sold for 1 penny a slice – off cuts and dodgy looking slices were sold for half a penny. As a Quaker, Henry kept the cake simple but tasty. The pink icing was reportedly made from Mulberries that grew in the garden of The Tottenham Friends Meeting House.
In 1901 Tottenham Hotspur’s won the FA Cup, and to celebrate children in the area were given a cube of cake for free…..now that’s my kind of celebration! Sadly Mulberries aren’t quite as easy to come by, and most of todays icing is made pink by colouring. But made well, it’s a cake that you just can’t resist….it’ll take you back to being 7 years old again.
So after a bit of research, I found a few historic recipes and made my own. I combined and tweaked them, to make what I hope is a great, classic Tottenham Cake. It’s slightly denser than a normal sponge, and is sweet and moist from the syrup that’s poured on it while warm. I used a high-concentrate, low sugar Summer Berry Squash for the icing, which gives it an extra fruity zing.
And during lockdown I though it would be the perfect cake to make on my Bake Along on Facebook, as it’s easy and really yummy!!
- 170 gms Caster or Granulated Sugar
- 170 gms Butter at room temp, or baking spread
- 1 tspn Vanilla Extract or Paste
- 3 Eggs
- 230 gms Plain Flour
- 1.5 tspn Baking Powder
- 50 ml Cold Water
- 2 tbspn Icing Sugar
- 150-200 gms Icing Sugar
- 1-2 tbspn Fruit Squash or Cordial
- Pre-heat the oven to 160c fan, 180c, 350f, GM 3
- Line a baking tray – an 8" brownie tin is ideal. Line it so the paper comes up out of the sides
- Either with an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy
- Add the vanilla and mix through
- Add the eggs one at a time, adding a small spoon of the flour if it starts to curdle
- Beat everything together until light in colour
- Now, by hand, fold in the remaining of the flour until all incorporated
- Pour into the baking tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until light and golden, and a skewer stuck into the centre comes out clean
- One baked remove from the oven and place to one side while you make the syrup
- Mix together the icing sugar and water until the sugar is fully dissolved
- Whilst still in the tin spoon the syrup all over the sponge and allow to cool.
- Once cooled removed from the tin and now its time for the icing
- Mix together the icing sugar and fruit squash until you have a very thick pouring consistency. I would mix 1 tablespoon at a time of the squash or youll e adding extra icing sugar to get it thick again
- Spread over your cake
- Cut and enjoy!!!!
This blog post about Tottenham Cake is adapted from a post which first appeared on The Daisy Cake Cookbook in November 2017.