Friday, 30 August 2013

GBBO Courting cake - recipe - not just for courting purposes

Did you see the GBBO last week but one (the first episode in the new series) and the piece about the courting cake, and it being a Lancashire tradition? If you missed it the article about courting cakes is here on the Lancashire Life website.  The person that presented the piece on the show is a local food writer Phillippa James. Anyway got me thinking about baking a cake last weekend as it was our wedding anniversary on the Bank Holiday Monday.

We had a very quiet wedding just the two of us, and a total of two guests, my sister and her husband (to be). They were bound to secrecy because we just didn't want a huge fuss, the deal was, 'if you can't keep our secret then please don't be involved'...luckily they managed to keep the secret. I say luckily as I was glad my sister was there.

Eight years on, here we are with a growing family, and a lot to be grateful for...including a delicious slice of courting cake...the recipe is adapted from the one on the Lancashire Life website...I used very small (almost mini size) sandwich tins to make my cake...this made one tall but small cake (just enough for a courting couple to have two slices each). You might want to make the cake bigger by doubling these amounts if you are feeding more than a courting couple?

The texture of these courting cakes is more dense than usual its often described as a bit like shortbread. I'm not sure thats how I would describe it but it is a very dense cake, and would not be much to shout about without the cream and fruit filling.

Apparently it was a tradition in Lancashire to make courting cakes for whoever you had your eye on at the time, and streets in local towns were known places where a bit of courting would take place. A lot of local people still refer to 'courting' meaning boyfriend/girlfriend type relationships. I can't ever remember baking a cake to win the heart of my love, I made him a chicken curry, he later confessed to not liking curry at all but was too polite to say at the time.

for the sponge 
100g softened butter
100g caster sugar
2 free range eggs
175g self raising flour
1tbsp milk
for the filling:
small carton fresh double cream
1 x punnet English strawberries
1 tbsp icing sugar
1tsp rosewater
1. Pre heat the oven to 180C.  Grease 3 round sandwich tins, I used a mini sized tin.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and pale in colour the, add the beaten eggs and the milk.
3. Fold in the flour and gently combine.
4. Spoon into 3 sandwich tins (I used mini ones) and bake in an oven for about 20 minutes.
5. Once the cakes have cooked turn out onto a cooling wrack.
6. Beat the cream until stiff, and add a tbsp icing sugar and teaspoon of rosewater.
7. Wash, hull, dry and slice the strawberries in half.
8. Level off two of the cakes with a knife, then layer up the sponges with the cream and fresh strawberries.
9. Dust the top layer with icing sugar and serve.


  1. Oh yes Sue, I was intrigued by the courting cake tradition - not one I'd heard of before seeing that episode of GBBO. Your cake looks so pretty and I love its mini size. Congratulations on your anniversary, I hope you had a lovely day.

  2. Happy Wedding Anniversary!! Lovely photos and when you say small wedding you really mean small! Love watching the GBBO and have not heard of courting cake until then.


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Susan x