A Brit of alright.
We have a lot going on at the moment here in Blighty. The Queen has made it to 90. Twice if you count both her birthdays. There is the referendum in June to decide if we want to stay in Europe or if we would rather make a sharp Brexit. We’ve just managed to get through Eurovision and not be in last place. Heck, it’s even the final of Britain’s Got Talent this week. Though if the standard of the acts is anything to go by, that title is something of an exaggeration. But that’s us Brits in a nutshell. Always willing to give it a go. We might potter on as best we can with our stiff upper lip attitude and a dry and self-deprecating sense of humour, but there is one thing that’s for certain. There is a reason we are called Great Britain. We do alright. We just don’t feel the need to blow our own trumpets. Self praise is no praise after all. But if there’s one thing we are better at than any other country on Earth, it has to be our nice cup of tea and a slice of cake.
No matter how serious the problem, it can always be helped with a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake. Relationship trouble? Tea and cake. Money worries? Tea and cake. House burnt to the ground and all of your personal treasures destroyed in the conflagration? Tea and cake. At a neighbour’s house obviously. I don’t mean to rub salt, but you can’t make it at yours can you? Where your kettle used to be is now a smokey pile of ash and cinders. But I digress. When you think of some of our more traditional cakes, such as the odd-tasting caraway seed cake or dry as a bone Madeira, you can understand why you would need a good pot of tea to help them on their way. Bearing that in mind, I wanted to bake a slightly more modern cake. Something resolutely British as an alternative to the ubiquitous Oreo cookie cake, perhaps. Now don’t get me wrong, I love American recipes. Layer cakes. Bundt cakes. Cupcakes. Those wonderfully trashy US bakes that seem to have invaded every aspect of our culture. Love ’em. But there is nothing wrong in wanting to bake something understated and British sometimes. And what could be more British than the custard cream?
When it comes to custard creams, it seems that here in Britain we just can’t get enough. When 7000 people were questioned in a poll as to what their favourite biscuit was, a whopping NINETY PERCENT said that custard creams were their biscuit of choice. And us Brits are world beaters too. It’s official! The Guinness book of records lists the biggest ever custard cream biscuit as being baked by Paul Thacker of Nottingham in November 2010. It was a ma-hoosive 59cm by 39cm by 6.5cm and weighed in at a hefty 15.73kg. If you prefer those measurements in old money that’s 23 x 15 x 2.6 inches and 34.7lbs in weight. And if that was not enough to make you feel proud, it was all for a good cause. The giant biscuit was auctioned off to raise money for Children In Need. Outstanding. Or to put it another way, we are the custard cream of the crop.
A tin to bake it in.
I baked this cake in a 1kg loaf tin. I think it would fit quite comfortably in the slightly smaller 900g loaf tin too if necessary, but you may need to increase the cooking time accordingly and cover the cake with tin foil near the end of the cooking time just to keep it from getting over browned. I did make a very minor mistake in the making of this cake. I may have mentioned before that I hail from Yorkshire and am therefore thrifty by nature. I bought supermarket own brand custard creams and regretted it. The biscuits didn’t quite keep their crunch after being baked into the cake. In this instance you might want to pay that little bit extra for brand name biscuits. The cake still tasted lovely, but the softened biccies didn’t add the desired bite that I had hoped for. Thankfully, as far as I’m aware, having a lack of textural differences in your cake is not an arrestable offence. Otherwise the food police might very well have placed me in custardy. Now here’s that recipe… Enjoy.
Custard Cream Loaf Cake.
- 150g Self Raising Flour.
- 200g Granulated Sugar.
- 50g Custard Powder.
- 120g Margarine.
- 2 Large Eggs.
- 120g Greek Yoghurt.
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract.
- 100g Custard Cream Biscuits (roughly chopped).
- 100g Icing Sugar.
- 5ml Vanilla Extract.
- Yellow Food Colouring Gel (enough to colour the icing custard yellow).
- Place a shelf in the centre of the oven. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4. Grease and line a 1kg loaf tin so that the greaseproof paper overhangs on the two long sides.
- Measure the first seven ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Using the paddle attachment, beat on a low speed until just combined.
- Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
- Fold in two-thirds of the chopped biscuits until evenly distributed.
- Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface, leaving a slight dip in the middle to help the cake rise evenly.
- Scatter the remaining biscuits evenly over the surface and gently press into the cake mixture.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until the cake is well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before carefully removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Whisk the icing sugar, vanilla extract and food colouring with just enough water to form a fairly thick icing.
- Drizzle over the top of the cooled cake and allow to set a little before serving.