On the table reposed a nut cake which she had baked that morning. . .a particularly toothsome concoction iced with pink icing and adorned with walnuts. Anne had intended it for Friday evening, when the youth of Avonlea were to meet at Green Gables to organize the Improvement Society. But what were they compared to the justly offended Mr. Harrison? Anne thought that cake ought to soften the heart of any man, especially one who had to do his own cooking, and she promptly popped it into a box. She would take it to Mr. Harrison as a peace offering.
Chapter II, Anne of Avonlea, L M Montgomery
The Melbourne Cake Club met last week at The Oriental Tea House in Little Collins Street. Our theme this month was Novel Cakes - that is, cakes that are inspired by novels.
Dalya brought a Lemon Drizzle Cake containing mashed potato and topped with Candied Potato Peelings, inspired by The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by A Burrows and M Shaffer:
Sue made an adult Gingerbread Cake with Caramel and Cream in the shape of a castle, inspired by Hansel and Gretel by The Brothers Grimm:
My cake, pictured at the top of the post, is inspired by the passage in Anne of Avonlea where Anne realises she has sold Mr Harrison's cow by mistake, and decides to take him her nut cake as a peace offering.
Here are my slices of all of the cakes:
My nut cake is made to a 1902 recipe for Hickory Nut Cake that I found on World Turn'd Upside Down. A quick search revealed that pecan nuts are a type of hickory nut, so I made my cake with ground pecan nuts. This is the unadorned cake:
It is surprisingly light and spongy, and delicious to eat. The icing adds a touch of sweetness:
Here' s a peek inside:
The recipe is as follows:
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 egg whites
1 cup ground pecan nuts
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line 2 x 9" round cake tins.
Sift the baking powder and the flour together in a medium sized bowl, and add the ground nuts.
Bake for 60 minutes or until cooked through. Unmould onto a wire rack to cool.
For the incing, mix together 1 1/2 cups icing sugar with a tablespoon of vanilla extract and sufficient hot water to form a stiff paste. Colour with pink food colouring to taste. Spread half the icing in the middle of the cake and half on top of the cake, and top with walnut halves. Serve!