Cookery Rhymes: Little Jenny Wren


Little Jenny Wren fell sick,
Upon a time;
In came Robin Redbreast
And brought her cake and wine.

“Eat well of my cake, Jenny,
Drink well of my wine.”
“Thank you, Robin, kindly,
You shall be mine.”

Jenny she got well,
And stood upon her feet,
And told Robin plainly
She loved him not a bit.

Robin being angry,
Hopped upon a twig,
Saying, “Out upon you! Fie upon you!
Bold-faced jig!”

The Oxford English Dictionary traces the English word cake back to the 13th century. It is a derivation of ‘kaka’, an Old Norse word. The first cakes were very different from what we eat today. They were often bread sweetened with honey or fruit.

Red Wine Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup cake flour
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter and flour pan.
2.  Heat chocolate, sugar, and 1 cup butter in a f bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring, until chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from heat, continue to stir until chocolate is melted. Let cool.
3. Whip the chocolate mixture adding one egg at a time. Add salt and 1/3 cup flour; mix until smooth. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
4. Bake cake until top is firm and edges are slightly darkened,(my home oven takes 45-50 minutes. Please use the tooth pick method to determine readiness) Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan before turning out.

Red Wine Glaze
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, graded
1/4 cup  unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup red wine A pinot will give you a peppery sauce, Merlot a fruity sauce, and two buck chuck will give you a chuck sauce. If you are making this for the kids, use water instead of wine.

1. Melt the chocolate over a pot as you did above.
2. Add the butter salt and sugar.
3. Add the wine/water to thin.
4. Pour the glaze over the cake and serve.

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