I began collecting recipes and cook books during my teen years and still have many of them to this day.
I once came across a picture of Sally Lunn teacake in one of the cook books collected during a promotion at the local grocery store. Out of a set of twenty four books I managed to get three. Totally regrettable but the three are a treasure trove containing some of my best recipes.
I first tried making this recipe in my late teens being the designated baker at home during that time. My mother took care of the main meals, she never was and still isn’t into baking sweets of any kind. This may explain why there are no unwritten or documented dessert and cookie recipes in my collection coming from her.
It was all about cookbooks with pictures for me in those days. With very little baking experience but a willingness to learn, an inviting picture was all the inspiration I needed.
A picture of Sally Lunn teacake in one of those cookbooks was absolutely inspiring! It was exceptionally tall and golden dusted lightly with confectioner’s sugar and crowned with strawberries. The question was could I make one that looked half as good.
Sally Lunn is a large yeast dough bun or teacake made with cream or milk, eggs, sugar and spice similar to the sweet brioche breads of France. It was first recorded in the year 1780 in the town of Bath in southwest England.
Who could have known this recipe dated that far back although I’m pretty sure this is one of the many variations of the original recipe.
It’s been years since making this bread for the very first time and besides never forgetting the name Sally Lunn I remember getting a very good height to the teacake. However there remains no clear recollection of taste or texture but it was unlikely I added mace for if I had, the taste would have been unforgettably delicious!
Very light, delicious and versatile, eaten plain or toasted and spread with honey butter and I’ll venture to say would make a delightful French toast!
I’ll definitely not wait so long before making this again.
¾ cups milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
1 envelope active dry yeast
3 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
½ teaspoon ground mace
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
- Scald milk with granulated sugar, salt and butter in a small saucepan, cool to lukewarm
- Add ½ teaspoon sugar to ¼ cup warm water, add yeast and wait until it foams.
- In a bowl, mix together warm milk mixture, 3 well beaten eggs, yeast, lemon rind and mace.
- Stir in flour until well mixed then beat vigorously with a wooden spoon or spatula until the dough is elastic and shiny scraping down side of bowl often.
- Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place away from drafts for 1 hour or until double in bulk.
- Stir dough down and spoon into a well-greased 10 or 12 inch tube pan.
- Cover and let rise again 1 hour or until not quite double in bulk.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden and gives a hollow sound when tapped.
- Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
- Sprinkle lightly with confectioner’s sugar.
Notes, Tips and Suggestions
- Mace is the membrane or outer shell of nutmeg. Nutmeg can be substituted giving a similar flavour but is slightly more pungent than mace. Whatever you use be sure to freshly grate your own.
- This teacake reminds me in taste and texture of Italian Panetone and can probably handle the addition of raisins, candied fruit or chocolate chips.
- Sally Lunn is not too sweet, spreading Honey Butter on a slice is just perfect. Mix 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter with 1/4 cup liquid honey until well blended.