I’m a big fan of the sponge cake traybake. They’re really quick and easy to make, they cut into equal size pieces, so no one squabbles about portion sizes, and they’re almost always delicious. This recipe for Tottenham Cake is as simple as it gets really, and the bright pink icing doesn’t have an artificial colour anywhere near it, which is a good thing indeed.
The first Tottenham Cake was made by a local baker, Henry Chalkley who was a Quaker. His affordable and easy to make treat quickly became popular. The colourful pink icing was originally made using mulberries which grew in the grounds of the Quaker Meeting House in Tottenham. Mulberries are a little hard to come by these days, so the pink colour is often achieved using fresh raspberries, or food colouring.
When Tottenham Hotspur Football Club won the FA Cup in 1901, the cake was given free to local children in celebration of this historic win. Tottenham Cake is still popular today and is available in local bakeries in London, and also London branches of Greggs bakers. If you’re not local to London, I can assure you that the recipe is ridiculously easy, and it’ll save you making a trip to the big smoke for a slice of cake!
Tottenham Cake was featured on The Great British Bake Off on 17 September 2013. You can watch the video here.
This Tottenham Cake is a cousin to the school dinner classic – the sprinkle cake. Lovely light sponge, topped with a sweet simple icing that’s always going to be a winner for children and adults alike. It’s definitely going to make it onto my regular baking round, and this is the recipe that’s finally made me order a proper traybake tin, rather than my usual small roasting tin. My future is full of traybakes, and I’m not sad about that!
This recipe makes 15 (ish) squares of cake. You can add a bit of lemon zest if you like, as the icing is flavoured with raspberries, the hint of lemon works really well with it.
School dinner style Tottenham Cake
200 g caster sugar
200 g softened butter or margarine (I use Stork)
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 tbsp milk
200 g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated (optional)
For the icing
200g icing sugar, sifted
100g fresh raspberries
Desiccated coconut (optional)
How to make your cake:
Heat your fan oven to 180c. Line a 20 x 30cm cake tin with baking paper. I use a medium sized roasting tin. In a large bowl, beat your butter and sugar together until fluffy (I used a hand mixer). Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and combine, then add the flour and baking powder and mix together until you have a smooth batter. If you’re adding lemon, stir that though now.
Pour your cake batter into your prepared tin. Bake in your pre-heated oven for around 40-45 mins until golden and cooked. Leave to cool on a cooling rack.
While your cake is cooling, sift your icing sugar into a bowl to remove the lumps. Lumpy icing isn’t the best, so it’s worth taking a minute to do this. Pop your fresh raspberries in a microwavable dish and cook for around 90 seconds, or until they’ve collapsed and are soft and pulpy. Push the raspberries through a sieve, so you’re removing the raspberry seeds. Pour the juice into your icing sugar and mix well.
Once all the icing sugar is incorporated, pour over the top of your cake. Spread the icing evenly, be aware that it will spread a little of its own accord. Once the top of the cake is covered in the icing, sprinkle over the desiccated coconut until you’re happy with how it looks. If you’re not a fan of coconut, you could use sprinkles, or just leave it as it is. Let the icing set for an hour or two and once the icing is firm to the touch, you can cut it into squares and share it with friends.