Please wait, the site is loading...

Mary-Anne Boermans' new book, Great British Bakes (£20, Square Peg), is a history lesson in traditional British baking. The former Great British Bake Off contestant has compiled a wonderful book of historical recipes, taken from some of the 1,000 antique books she has collected over a number of years. For each recipe, whether it be Bath biscuits from 1675, Banbury cakes from 1848 or an 1820s apple bread, we're given a brief history of where and how they originated, along with Mary-Anne's humorous insights from her own research and cooking the recipes in her own kitchen.

When this book landed on my desk I knew it was one to take home for a closer read (and not just for the pictures!) – I became engrossed in the amazing history of traditional cakes, buns and breads.

Lardy Cake
I was most interested in all the recipes I recognised from my childhood and was taken back to marvelling at my grandparents' extensive baking spreads. I came across a familiar recipe; Lardy cake – not something we make much nowadays because of its high fat and calorie content. But back in the day, this cake was the perfect 4 o'clock snack, or 'fourses'. Mary-Anne says, 'The calorie-heavy sweet dough, accompanied by a cool bottle of ale, was just the thing to keep energy levels up during the long days of harvest.' Lardy cake, ale and sitting at a desk 9-5 don't bode well for the waistline, unfortunately!

Welsh Honey Cake
I decided to make Welsh honey cake, which Mary-Anne says is taken from a book called The Diary Of A Farmer's Wife, 1796-1797. Anne Hughes, who wrote the diary for a year, detailed life as a farmer's wife and everything she made in the kitchen – much like many of us do now on our baking blogs! It's nice to make something at home knowing that farmer's wife Anne had been doing the same thing over 200 years ago.

The cake itself was simple but delicious, and the honey gave it a squidgy texture and treacly flavour. I can't wait to don my apron and try out some more traditional British bakes.

Great British Bakes is available to buy from all good book shops from Thursday 7 November

Welsh honey cake


Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 170g honey
  • 170g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 340g self-raising flour
  • milk, if required
  • a 23cm loaf tin, or similar capacity

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Grease and line the loaf tin with baking parchment.
  2. If necessary, warm the honey until runny, but not too hot. Set aside to cool a little if required.
  3. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the honey and mix thoroughly. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each is thoroughly mixed in before adding the next.
  4. Fold in the flour. The mixture should be of a ‘dropping’ consistency (it should drop freely off a spoon). Add a little milk, if necessary, until the correct consistency is reached.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes-1¼ hours until risen and firm to the touch, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. The cooking time will vary, depending on the size and shape of your tin, and the moisture content of your honey.
  7. Leave to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
 

About the author

Sarah Alcock

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy


Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
recentlyViewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days

Vimeo

Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends

DoubleClick

DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months

Performance/Analytics

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Google

Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year

Marketing/Targeting

These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.

Pinterest

Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year

Outbrain

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months

Twitter

Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years