This cake nearly didn’t make it as several of us were struck down with a nasty but thankfully brief lurgy at our cottage holiday this week. But I was feeling better by the day before my birthday, and I’d promised my nephews and niece – plus I really wanted to try out a recipe from the 1950s cake book.
You’ll have to forgive the phone photos, but I think you can see which one I picked – the Harlequin Layer Cake – complete with yellow-tinted frosting and chocolate buttons (these were laid on by my Munchkin, who realised pretty quickly that placing them very firmly meant a bit of icing got on his fingers each time and just *had* to be licked off). The cake is a very buttery sponge which is then divided in two and coloured separately. You place spoonfuls of each colour in the tin in turn, and smush them (probably not the technical word) together gently to join them. The recipe called for three cakes but I used the same amount of batter to make two. I made the suggested yellow buttercream to sandwich them together, and the same for the top.
The cake was very popular with the adults and children alike and was accompanied with lots of lovely good wishes, gifts and cards. It was nice that our friend Lynne was there with us via her cake book too! As to its 1950s origins, well the only two things which stood out for me were first the large amount of butter (8oz or almost a whole UK block), which seems notable given that butter rationing would only just have ended in 1952 (a celebration, perhaps!); and second, the yellow tinting of the cake and icing, where today we’re more used to a plain ‘yellow’. Again, this may have been part of the celebration of all the new colours and dyes which were available in this period. All reasons to make it a cake for a happy occasion!