Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jim Lefevre’s Scottish Afternoon Tea Cake

When you think “Scottish,” what comes to mind? Clans, tartans, crests? Terriers, perhaps? Kilts, to be sure! Thistles, maybe. And hooch, as in a “wee dram.” Realign your thinking. From now on, when you consider all things Scottish, consider the plight of poor, maligned Jim Lefevre of West Kelowna, British Columbia.
Ignorance was bliss ...
until today!
Here’s Jim now, happily grinning in this photo, unaware anything’s amiss. Jim is Scottish. Very, very Scottish. Study that face! Jim’s honesty and sincerity come shining through (Ladies: You gotta admit he’s kinda cute, right? Alas! Already spoken for!).  
Jim doesn’t know it yet, but I have done him wrong. Until this very moment, he’s been blissfully unaware of my transgression. I have literally struck him down - dealt him a mortal, fatal blow - and am truly sorry that things have gone so far that I can’t possibly make them right. How have I wronged ye, laddie? Let me count the ways …
But first, a little history. You may have seen my note of a few days ago that this blog is under construction. Indeed, I’ve been working hard behind the scenes to give you an easier-to-navigate blog that will enable you to find what you’re looking for more quickly. One of the small changes I’m making is to give recipes their own separate postings, rather than posting two or three under a single header, as I sometimes formerly did. All of which brings me back to Jim … Bless his wee Scottish heart!
When this blog was in its earliest days, Jim jumped in to contribute his delicious Scottish Griddle Scones, known to his family as “Girdle Scones.” I tested them in the stainless steel kitchens (hah!) of Nicole Parton’s Favorite Recipes and pronounced them sensational. You thought so, too: Jim’s recipe quickly became a runaway favorite as the second-most popular recipe I’ve ever presented in this space, surpassed only by my Non-Alcoholic Cranberry Punch, which everyone wants to get their mitts on. 
So here’s how I wronged Jim. I hang my head in shame. 
When I originally ran Jim’s recipe, I appended a scone recipe from Ron’s Scottish Grandma Innes to it. Because I used Jim’s recipe first and Ron’s second, the header on the blog read: Jim Lefevre’s Dropped Griddle Scones. When I decided to give each recipe its own header (a process I have still not finished), I separated Grandma Innes’s Rolled Griddle Scones from Jim Lefevre’s Dropped Griddle Scones. Noting that Jim’s scones rated the second-highest of all-time in this blog’s six-month lifespan, I dropped Jim’s wife, Barb, a teasing note to suggest that Jim wouldn't hold the No. 2 spot for long, ha-ha! Little did I know just how right I was.
I don’t know how much you know about computers, but it’s probably more than I do. When I separated these two recipes, I gave each a new header - and blew Jim’s lead to smithereens, because the computer thought it was a new recipe that no one had previously seen. As in ... No one! Goose egg! Zero! In a single day, high-flyer Jim went from being the pigeon to being the statue. I can’t tinker with Google’s numbers; if I could, I’d restore Jim’s to their former glory. So all I can do is apologize and remind you how terrific Jim Lefevre’s Dropped Griddle Scones were and still are, and hope you’ll click on his recipe I printed last April. Every “click” will give Jim one more notch in his sporran. The only way I can try to right this injustice is to run another of Jim’s recipes. Jim Lefevre’s Scottish Afternoon Tea Cake is dee-lishus, says Barb - especially with a little butter and jam. 

Half a tea cake is better than none

I made Jim’s tea cake yesterday afternoon. Barb wasn’t kidding. So I present to you today’s Guest Blogger, Jim Lefevre! Drumroll, please!

Jim Lefevre’s Scottish Afternoon Tea Cake:
¼ lb. butter
3 tbsp. sugar
1 egg, well beaten in measuring cup; add water to 1 c. mark
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
Dash of salt
1 c. chopped dates
Preheat oven to 375 deg. F. Using electric mixer, cream butter until soft, gradually adding sugar until mixture is smooth and sugar is fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Gradually blend a third of dry ingredients into butter-sugar mixture. Add half of well-beaten egg and water; continue beating. Adding a further third of dry ingredients, remaining egg and water, and remaining dry ingredients, beating well after each addition. Despite this recipe’s “cake” name, dough will be stiff and bread-like. Mix a little extra flour with chopped dates to separate them and prevent them from clumping together. Quickly mix them in. Transfer to a well-greased or parchment-lined 9-in. round pan (see Note). Bake 40 - to - 45 min. Test tea cake with a skewer to ensure it has baked through and is not gummy at the center. Cool before removing from pan.
Separated at birth ...
... Our "tea cake" pans!
Note: Oldies but goodies: Nicole and Jim's tea cake pans 

Jim’s cake pan formerly belonged to Barb’s mother; Barb says it’s had many years of service. Nicole inherited her pan from her mother-in-law, the late Anne Parton. The arm that scrolls along each pan’s bottom and edge releases the cake from the pan. 

Making this cake was easy: These step-by-step photos will show you how! 

Chop dates!

Expect a stiff dough!

Into the oven!
And into the mouth!
But wait! To make amends to Jim, I promised he could have the last word! 

Good to the very last bite!
Im away for the next week, Dollinks! Happy Cooking!

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