One of the bits of paper flying around in the greater collection of stuff from Grammy was a little foldover, like something that might have been included in a gift or a package. Printed on this brittle, yellowed rectangle of paper is a recipe entitled Queen Elizabeth Cake. The recipe itself is simple and interesting; the story, written as a “note” on the right-hand side of the foldover, is the mystery.
“This is supposed to be the only cake Queen Elizabeth makes herself.
The Queen’s request is that it not be passed on, but sold for CHURCH purposes only. Large amounts of this cake she makes each year for the CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
A piece of the cake is sold with a RECIPE. The idea is to have more and more cake in the Parishes throughout the Country. It always sells because it is so good, and because it is the Queen’s own. It originated in Buckingham Palace after the Coronation.”
Now, the world wide web is not encyclopedic, nor is it all accurate. But if this were indeed a big deal for church and crown, wouldn’t one find something on, say, the official site of the royal family? Or the Church of England?
Not only is there nothing there, a Canadian site includes a disclaimer, attributed to a representative of the current Queen: The recipe ain’t hers.
If I were Queen Elizabeth, I would claim this recipe in a heartbeat. It makes a killer moist cake; when you pour the icing over the top, you’re headed for sticky toffee pudding. (There are some recipes on line that talk about broiling the icing. Nah. Looks really ugly.)
I guess if one is the Queen, however, one must be very careful about endorsements. If one were to select a certain cake to bear one’s name, would that be to the exclusion — or at the least, slighting — of all others? One would certainly not wish that. One has too many desserts to enjoy in this world.
Queen Elizabeth Cake
It may seem like you are not making enough icing, but you are. You can either leave this cake in the pan or turn it out onto a platter before you ice it — the parchment-tab strategy makes this easy. The platter approach allows the coconut to catch not just the top but the sides as well.
Makes one 9 x 12 inch cake
- 1 cup chopped dates
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 5 tablespoons brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9 x 12 inch pan, or line the pan with parchment paper.
Combine dates and baking soda, and pour boiling water over them. Let mixture stand.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla, and beat well. Add flour, baking powder and salt; pour in date mixture and nuts, and mix all together well.
Pour batter into the pan. Transfer pan to the preheated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let stand.
Mix all icing ingredients except for coconut in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil; boil three minutes, until thickened. Pour icing over cake and spread. Sprinkle shredded coconut on top.
Photos and recipe copyright 2010 Garside Group LLC