It is a plain and wholesome Ground Rice Cake; it was light and lemony and went down a treat.
Judging by the colour of the sponge cake, which really is as yellow as those lemons, I would say our hens have definitely been eating their spinach. It is one of their favourite daily snacks. Happy, free-roaming hens make wonderful eggs.
All of the books have at least one recipe for rice cake, some have several versions.
In the end I eliminated the one which required the use of 11 eggs, far too extravagant for an experiment, and opted for this one (by C Cooper of Westwood Lodge, 1851) because it calls for just four simple ingredients.
1/4 lb of Ground Rice
1/4 lb loaf sugar, finely powdered
4 new laid eggs, take out half the whites
Lemon peel, cut fine (I grated mine)
Beat the eggs up fine, then add the sugar, give them a good beating, add the rice, beat them all up for nearly an hour. Butter your pans and send them to the oven immediately.
Beat for nearly an hour? I'm not quite that devoted to experimentation. I used my Kenwood Chef and reduced the time to 10 minutes.
Other than that, I followed the instructions, even though it felt really wrong to add the rice to a wonderfully light egg and sugar mix, then beat on. I felt that I wanted to gently fold the ground rice into the mix, to keep the air inside.
Of course, the mixture collapsed, and it took a lot of beating to re-inflate it - but I'm pleased to say that the cake was almost completely devoured by the family this afternoon. They loved the texture and the way the lemon flavour came through.
The recipe gave no instructions about what temperature it should be baked at, nor for how long, so I popped it into the oven for 40 minutes and hoped for the best. The Rayburn was showing an oven temperature of 150 degrees but it dropped to 140 for most of the time.
It is a wood-fired Rayburn and is temperamental, to say the least, but today it performed magnificently. I thought the wood-fired stove was more authentic, after all, the cooks of old didn't have the luxury of electric/gas ovens and temperature control dials.
It was a little strange baking a cake without having the usual guidelines, oven temp, timing, size of tin, etc. I suppose we have every last detail thought out for us these days, everything is made easy.
'Til next time.