The best cakes in the world. No question.


Banoffee. Food of the gods 

“BANOFFEE!!!! and cake too! I love my family.” This was the facebook posting of a floppy-fringed teenager the day before yesterday. Sam is the ubercool son of the Crone’s closest cousin and is usually better known for dismissive updates on inferior video gamers than for demonstrative outbursts of family affection. But as soon as the Crone saw his FB status, she knew his grandmother, (and her own aunt) had been baking. A little Facebook messaging and this theory was confirmed “I’m on study leave” said Sam ” the cake won’t last long” 

The Crone’s Aunt (her aunt what brung her up) is not on Facebook and probably has no idea just how cheering her baking can be. Her other grandson has also given it a social media shout out ( “My grandmother makes the best cakes in the world. No question”) and now the Crone would like to add her voice to the dessert song. 

Across the years, her aunt what brung her up made Christmas cakes for the Blarney family, giant weighty slabs of fruit cake made in the late summer, kept wrapped in tinfoil and then stabbed with a knitting needle and poured full of brandy on a semi-regular basis. She made wedding cakes for the Crone’s brother and sister,  and numerous confections for extended family to take on holiday, pass themselves at funerals and see them through a tough week. She supplemented these with delicious desserts, served up every Sunday. Pavlova, and lemon mousse were particular favorites. There was always a choice of 3 or 4 and anyone with any sense would sample some of each. After school in the 1970s, the Crone’s aunt could always produce a seemingly endless supply of  homemade Shah biscuits and wee tray bakes to fortify the weary and crestfallen after double maths. The Crone particularly liked the Chinese Chews. (see recipe below. Disclaimer: this is not my Aunt’s recipe and may or may not be any good) Bear in mind that all this homebaking was fitted in around a full-time job and looking out for her own family and a clutch of nieces and nephews. 

40 years on, she is at it still. It’s good to know that the Banoffee tastes as good as ever it did, with love baked into every bite. 

Chinese Chews 

3/4 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped dates
1 tsp. baking powder
3 well beaten eggs
1/4 tsp. salt 

Sift all the dry ingredients and add the others. Pour into a 9×9 pan. (lightly greased). Bake for 30 minutes in a 300 degree oven. Cut into squares. Makes about 2 dozen.

About Liz Barron

US Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia. Permanent address in Washington DC. Deep roots in Northern Ireland and persistent Belfast accent. Blogger,cook, mother, grandma, Scrabble-player and enthusiastic world traveler.
This entry was posted in Blarney Family, Cooking with the Crone, food, Tales of a Belfast girlhood and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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