Easter Baking

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A groaning table

It’s Easter so it must be baking time.  I’m a member of Stroud Green Women’s Institute and we’ve formed a Cake Club where we meet every six weeks or so to bring, bake and, of course, eat cakes. Last week we baked a variety of Easter cakes from all over Europe.

First up was La Mona de Pascua from Catalan. It’s a Genoese sponge with an apricot jam filling and a rich custard topping with no fewer than 15 egg yolks mixed with icing sugar. Traditionally the cake is made with hard-boiled eggs embedded in the centre, but the modern recipe is somewhat plainer!

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Putting the finishing touches to La Mona de Pascua
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A slice of delicious Catalan cake

We tried Russian Paska, a tower of cream, ricotta cheese and cream cheese mixed with nuts, glace cherries and crystallized ginger. Unfortunately it didn’t come out quite like the one demonstrated on Mary Berry’s Easter show last week, but it tasted delicious.

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Russian Paska

Of course we sampled Simnel cake, a fruit cake layered with marzipan and topped by twelve eggs representing the twelve apostles.

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Simnel cake with its 12 apostles

One member made a fertility cake, Fruchtbärkeit torte, using a recipe from her Austrian aunt.  The sponge is mixed with copious amounts of poppy seeds, a traditional symbol of fertility. It reminded me of the poppy seed cake my mother used to bring home from a Polish deli when we lived in Birmingham in the 60s. This fertility cake was filled with a custard flavoured with a generous amount of Tia Maria and was topped with chocolate and flaked almonds.

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Fertility cake
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Poppy seeds: a symbol of fertility

Lastly there were chocolate truffle scotch eggs with a creme egg filling.

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Scotch eggs with creme egg centres

Good job I didn’t have any dinner beforehand.

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