Baking Nostalgia

Sorting through my recipe book cupboard the other day, I came across goodies that reminded me of baking when I was a child. Biscuit cutters, jelly moulds and a couple of old recipe books that belonged to my great-gran. My favourite recipe book, well, I have 2 favourites, are - the "Radiation Cookery Book - For use with the REGULO NEW WORLD Gas Cookers" (from 1941) and my other favourite - "The Kitchen Front" (A 1942 war-time booklet filled with recipes selected by the Ministry of Food from just some of the broadcasted B.B.C.programmes of the same name). Both of these books are chock full of recipes - some that most of us may have heard of, some, maybe not so familiar.

There is one recipe that reminds me of my childhood - Chocolate Layer Cake (American Origin). I remember making this with my mum when I was a small child. The delicious aroma of chocolate wafting from the kitchen as it baked in the oven whilst I licked the bowl (and spoon) clean. This was quite simply a necessity and possibly one of my favourite things about baking when I was small. After all, one mustn't waste any mixture! This particular recipe always called for only 2 tablespoons of cocoa, but me being me, thought it would taste super chocolatey if I added a little more! And when I say a 'little', what I mean is "Let's add at least 3 more tablespoons". Up until about 5 or so years ago, mum was unaware that this was what I did. "So THAT'S where all my cocoa used to disappear to!". Oops, I've been rumbled! But hey, it made for an absolutely scrumptious chocolate cake! Filled with butter icing and dusted with icing sugar - a slab of that after tea was the best thing ever! It still is. The simplest recipes are always the best in my opinion.

I did happen to stumble upon a genius variation of this chocolate cake. One afternoon, (quite a few years ago), I had a hankering for chocolate cake, so started to weigh and measure all the ingredients out, only to discover - no cocoa powder! You can't very well make a chocolate cake with no cocoa powder or chocolate. Some quick thinking was required here! Rummaging through the cupboards, I came across a jar of Horlicks and thought, 'Well, why not?'. Half an hour and one yummy smelling kitchen later, I had a cake that tasted remarkably like malted milk biscuits. Oh heavens, what a happy accident that was! So now, if I find myself short of an ingredient or two or simply just fancy experimenting with cake recipes, my stock cupboards are rummaged through to see what delights I can use as an alternative!

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