This recipe for Lunch Cake comes from 1926 and a recipe submitted for publication in a charitable book by The Lady Mabel Howard, of Greystoke Castle. Greystoke Castle is near Penrith in Cumbria, North-West England. In 1069, Llyulph de Greystoke, after whom Ullswater is named, was re-granted his lands by the Normans, following their successful conquest in 1066 – Eighteen generations of de Greystoke lived in the castle built on the grounds. The latest owners, the Howard family, inherited it by marriage and Fourteen generations of the Howard family have lived in the castle thus far as a private home.
The recipe comes from: ‘A Book Of Scents And Dishes’, by Dorothy Allhusen, printed in 1926. “[with] The suggestion of compiling such a book and devoting the proceeds of the sales to charity from Mrs Thomas Hardy [Florence Emily Dugdale] … charities in which I take a personal interest.” The weights and measures have been adapted for the modern kitchen and the method expanded to aid explanation.
Greystoke Castle Lunch Cake Recipe
- 725g plain flour
- 225g butter, softened
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 300ml warm milk
- 1 tsp sugar
- 60g fresh live yeast – or 30g dried active yeast
- 500g raisins
- 225g caster sugar
- grated rind/zest of 1 lemon
In a jug pour in the warm milk, the teaspoon of sugar, and stir in the yeast to activate it. Leave it in a warm place for 5 to 7 minutes as the yeast multiplies and froths the top of the milk up.
In a large mixing bowl sift in the flour and rub the softened butter into it with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then with a wooden spoon mix in the beaten eggs and slowly pour in the active milk and yeast once it has fully activated after 5 minutes.
Beat it together into a dough – it should be slightly sticky but easy enough to remove from the bowl – add a little extra flour in if it needs it – then gently knead it for 10 minutes on a floured work surface.
Kneading Technique: This type of kneading does not need to be as intense as when making bread: Hold one end of the dough with one hand and then with the palm of your other hand gently push the dough away from you, stretching it out a short way. Once stretched (without breaking the dough) pull the dough back in and over with your fingers into a bigger lump once more. Give the dough a quarter turn then repeat. Giving the dough a quarter turn before stretching it back out works all of the dough and stretches the gluten out in different directions.
If sticking to the work surface or the dough is a little wet sprinkle over a little extra flour, it will probably need a few casts of extra flour, but do not over do it as too much extra flour will make the cake tough, keep it moist.
When ready it will become satiny and elastic. Form the dough into a large ball, place it back in the floured bowl, cover with a clean, light cloth in a warm room for 2 hours until the dough has risen.
Grease 2 small bread tins with butter.
Remove the dough from the bowl after it has risen in the 2 hours and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out gently and into the centre of the dough add the raisins, caster sugar and grated lemon rind/zest. Roll the dough back up and gently knead it between your fingers to distribute the sugar, raisins and lemon zest equally throughout the dough.
Break the dough into 2 equal pieces, shape them into a short roll, and put them into the prepared (greased) bread tins. Leave the dough in the tins for another 40 minutes to rise once more in a warm place (this is called the second rise).
Preheat the oven 200C
After 40 minutes put the bread tins into the oven and bake at 200C for about an hour.
Once baked remove the tins from the oven, allow to cool for ten minutes then turn the Greystoke Castle Cakes out onto a wire rack to completely cool. Serve warm or cold sliced for lunch.