When I was a child my mother thoughtfully allowed me in the kitchen, not only to help her but also to bake. While I enjoyed cooking a lot, my passion has always been baking.
My mother was a good baker and excelled in the art of baking pies. Occasionally she baked cookies, but she didn’t have a sweet tooth so she baked primarily for special occasions. I, on the other hand, had a sweet tooth, and the only way to satisfy it was to bake as we lived too far away for us to walk to the local markets.
This delicate cake was conceived as a coffee cake but it deserves to be elevated to an afternoon and evening tea cake. Feel free to substitute brandy for the rum if you prefer.
When I think of Easter, childhood memories float to the surface. Always a new outfit and hat, morning services at a local church, a family party either at our home or that of family friends, and baskets filled with chocolate treats, dreadful candy eggs in bright pastels, jelly beans and very cool Cadbury eggs with the yellow “yolk” centers.
One year I received a perfect little duckling from my grandmother. I loved it as it looked exactly like a real duckling. I made it a little home, complete with a water dish and played with it for a very long time. It never occurred to me that it had actually once been a duckling somewhere, sacrificed to be used as a child’s Easter toy.