An iconic London dish, Tottenham cake was invented by Quakers who lived in north London, having moved away from the distractions of the city center. First sold by Quaker Henry Chalkley, from 1901, Tottenham Cake was available for an old penny per cube, with smaller, misshapen scraps available for half the price. What is most remarkable about the cake is its grimy pink frosting. A color reminiscent of the Elephant & Castle shopping center in the mid-1990s, the distinctive pink frosting comes from the blackberries used in the frosting, picked from the grounds of the Meeting House of the Tottenham Friends (Quakers) on Tottenham High Road.
In addition to having an affordable price, Tottenham Cake reflects typical Quaker values of simplicity and equality in some ways. The cake only requires a small amount of ingredients, baked in trays that make it easy to cut into multiple portions, to share. When the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club first won the FA Cup, also in 1901, the cake was even handed out free to local children, to celebrate Spurs’ historic victory.
Once considered “a particular invention”From north London, the Tottenham cake is now available nationwide, still made by local Quakers, as well as national bakery chains. Among the readily available options, Percy Ingle’s Tottenham cake recipe was arguably the best and certainly the most famous. After 66 years serving the communities of London and Essex, the bakery has shut down its entire network of bakeries in the past year, taking their beloved baked goods away from the main streets. Another devastating blow in the struggle of the London working class against gentrification.
Celebrating the Percy Ingle version with its pale pink frosting, this simple Tottenham cake recipe bakes in just 35 minutes, with a sponge topped with orange zest and vanilla extract. The frosting, on the other hand, uses traditional blackberries, but raspberries can be used as a more than worthy substitute if blackberries aren’t available.
- 300 g self-rising flour
- 2 tea baking powder
- 4 medium eggs
- 225 g Unsalted butter
- 225 g Granulated sugar
- 1 tea vanilla extract
- 1 Orange zest only
- 3 tablespoon Milk more extra, if needed
- 120 g blackberries or raspberries
- 300-350 g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 ° C / Gas 4.
Butter and line a 30 × 20 cm mold with baking paper.
Ideally using an electric mixer (but a wooden spoon will do, if necessary), mix the butter and sugar until you obtain a cream.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and toss to combine. Stir in the vanilla extract and orange zest, then stir in the flour and baking powder. If the cake batter is too thick, add the milk a tablespoon at a time and mix.
Transfer the cake batter to the baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cocktail stick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let refresh in the bowl.
While cooling, heat the blackberries or raspberries with 2-3 tablespoons of water until tender. It will take about five minutes. Once tender, strain through a sieve into a clean mixing bowl, using the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. You should have about 5 tablespoons of liquid. Add a little cold water if necessary.
Add the icing sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and whisk. Start with 300 grams, but if the frosting is too thin, add another 50 grams until the consistency is correct. It should look like smooth wallpaper paste.
Carefully remove the cooled cake from the baking sheet and pour the frosting on top. Smooth with a palette knife and let stand. Once set, cut the cake into squares and serve.
RELATED: How To: Mint Cupcakes After Dinner