Queen cakes as the name implies are cakes which were served to the English royal family at tea time and became very popular during the reign of Queen Victoria. They are essentially miniature sponge cakes filled with yummy raisins or currants. These lovely cakes are buttery, light and fluffy and often with a mild citrus flavor which comes from the addition of lemon or orange zest. Though there are several recipes for making these majestic cakes, the inclusion of raisins is an absolute necessity. This is a personal recipe of mine developed from childhood memories when my mum would bake these cakes for us to take to school as part of our lunchbox snacks.
(1) 4 Large Eggs
(2) 200 Grams Granulated White Sugar (1 Cup)
(3) 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
(4) 1/2 Teaspoon Butterscotch Flavor
(5) 260 Grams All Purpose Flour (2 Cups)
(6) 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
(7) 1/2 Teaspoon Salt (See Note 1)
(8) The Zest of 1 Lemon
(9) 1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk (See Note 2)
(10) 170 Grams Unsalted Butter (3/4 Cup) (Melted)
(11) 3/4 Cup Raisins/Sultanas/Currants
(1) If using salted butter, leave out the salt in the recipe.
(2) You can use regular milk (whole or reduced fat) in place of evaporated milk.
(1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
(2) Grease small cake pans of various shapes and sizes. The size of pans you use will determine the number you will need. I used a total of 7 pans here, each containing about 3/4 cup of batter. Place the greased pans on a large baking tray for easy of travel to and from the oven. If you do not have small cake pans, muffin and cupcake pans can be used, with or without the liners.
(3) In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Grate the lemon zest into the blend and mix to combine. Take a tablespoon out of the flour mixture and coat the raisins with them. This will keep them from falling to the base of the batter during baking. Melt the butter and set aside.
(4) In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the eggs (at room temperature) and sugar and beat at high speed until thick and glossy. About 5 minutes. This will incorporate air into the batter and make the cakes light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the butterscotch flavor. Mix to combine.
(5) With the mixer running at very low speed (stir) add half of the flour mixture, the evaporated milk and the remaining flour mixture. Stop the mixer after adding the remaining flour and finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula, folding gently. Your aim here is not to deflate all the air you have worked into the batter.
(6) Add the melted butter to the batter and fold in with a rubber spatula. Be sure to get to the bottom of the bowl while folding in as the melted butter will sink to the bottom of the bowl.
(7) Finally add the coated raisins to the batter and fold in.
(8) Using an ice cream scoop or spoons, fill the greased pans with the batter. The batter should appear spongy.
(9) Place the cakes in the preheated oven and bake. You can add some more raisins to the top of each cake before baking. The size of the cake pans and quantity of batter would determine the baking duration. I baked mine for 22 minutes. I would advice you start checking at 20 minutes. They are ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle of several comes out clean. Place the cakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before taking them out of the pans.
(10) These cakes can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. Leftover cakes should be wrapped and stored in air tight containers or in the fridge. They are the perfect tea time snacks.
If you love queen cakes, you will love Madeleines. Recipe here.