A delicious cake that doesn’t contain Madeira, nor does it originate from the island. The idea is perhaps to serve the cake with a glass of Madeira. We tried it and yes, it works, but you could also serve the cake with a cup of tea or coffee. Let’s forget about the name and enjoy a relatively easy to make traditional British cake. It has a light structure, it is a touch moist and the flavours and aromas are citrusy. We think it looks best when made in a round tin.
What You Need
140 grams of Butter
130 grams of fine Sugar
170 grams of Self-Raising Flour
25 grams of Almond Flour
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 slice of Candied Orange
What You Do
Melt the butter in the microwave until very soft but not warm. Line the bottom of a 16 cm (6 inch) round baking tin with parchment baking paper. Butter the inside. Sieve the self-raising flour into a bowl. Set your oven to Traditional (upper and lower heat, no fan), temperature 180 °C or 355 °F. Mix the butter with the sugar until yellow and light. Add one egg, mix and add ⅓ of the flour. Mix until you have a smooth batter. Repeat this step twice. Now add the almond flour and the fine lemon zest. Mix. Add the batter to the tin, smooth the top and transfer to the oven. It will probably take 45 minutes. Check with a metal pin if the cake is ready. Leave the cake in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the tin and let cool on a wire rack. When cool, decorate with candied orange.
Maastricht is one of the Netherlands most beautiful cities. It’s located in the very south of the country, on both sides of the river Maas. It’s close to Germany (Aachen, Aix-La-Chapelle is only 30 km) and the Belgian city of Liège (25 km). Its culture and cuisine are strongly influenced by France. Maastricht is well known for its excellent local wines (Hoeve Nekum, Apostelhoeve), the hilly countryside and its ceramic.
In 1737 Marie Michon was born in Maastricht. In 1768 she married Albert de Milly. Both families were related to Hugenoten: protestant people who escaped from persecution in France because of their religion and moved (in this case) to the Netherlands in 1685. One of her daughters was Thérèse Elisabeth de Milly, who married the German Baron Friedrich Ludwich Behr in 1792. Clearly a rich and influential family. Mother and daughter wrote down recipes and practical households tips. There are two ‘cahiers’, known under the title ‘Natuurlijk Kookboek van Beproefde en Ondervonden Echte Recepten voor een Zindelijk Huijshouden’. The title would translate into something like ‘Natural Cookbook of Tried-and-Tested Real Recipes for a Proper and Clean Household’. In 2008 44 recipes were included in a book written by Marleen Willebrands.
In the Historisch Kookboek Vega written by Manon Henzen we noticed a recipe for chervil (pan-) cakes, based on one of the recipes of Marie Michon and Thérèse Elisabeth de Milly. Chervil, although its taste is delicate, was considered to be a very powerful and useful herb. It relieved symptoms of gout, high blood pressure, gas, eczema etcetera. The original recipe suggest frying the pancakes per 3. Which made us think of the traditional Dutch dish ‘drie in de pan’. These are small pancakes made with flour, yeast, eggs, milk and (optional) raisins. Fried per three, indeed.
The dough of the chervil pancakes is a combination of eggs, all-purpose flour, bread crumbs, melted butter, yeast, sugar and cinnamon. Add lots of chopped chervil, allow to rest and fry in a pan. We also added chopped parsley and chives. The pancakes looked very nice and inviting. When eating them we were slightly disappointed (a bit heavy, a bit dry). Perhaps we should have thought about a sauce?
More information (Dutch only) about the original recipes from 1785 can be found on the website of DBNL.