PUBLISHED: 07:50 24 March 2014 | UPDATED: 07:50 24 March 2014
If I was to create my own personal Norfolk food and art safari, one of the villages that would have to be on the map would be Cley. Starting at Cley Smokehouse, I would then take my time in the wonderful Pinkfoot Gallery, making sure there would be a moment to cross the road to stock up on wonderful ingredients at Picnic Fayre. The Picnic Fayre Delicatessen, set in the Old Forge, was opened in 1984 by John Pryor and has become a wonderfully eclectic culinary Aladdin’s den.
Victoria Pryor joined the business 16 years ago, bringing with her skills and knowledge, one of which is the ability to make the most fabulous cakes. Made without fuss or the latest gadgets, the most important utensils in Vic’s kitchen are her wooden spoons and bowls. The cakes on sale are often created without formal recipes, but always with an instinctive understanding for what works and what doesn’t, made with the best and freshest ingredients available to guarantee a perfect end result.
During the summer months, even when the shop is manically busy, Vic makes time to teach the students who join the team how to make cakes, passing on her passion for good food and cookery, and sharing these wonderful skills.
With Mothering Sunday approaching, I asked Vic to share two of her wonderful cake recipes with us.
Jane’s gluten-free Tunisian orange cake
Jane works with Vic, and will often make cakes for those with food intolerances.
250g caster sugar
zest of two oranges
300g ground almonds
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
Grease and line an 8in or 9in loose bottom tin
Whisk the eggs and sugar with the orange zest until really thick, fluffy and pale, then fold in the almonds - this may take several minutes. Then pour the mixture into the lined loose bottom cake tin and bake for about an hour.
For the syrup
Juice of two oranges
1 cinnamon stick
Boil the juice and the sugar with a cinnamon stick, then using a fork or skewer prod the top of the cake. Pour the hot syrup over the cold cake.
Sticky pear and ginger cake
500g soft, unsealed butter
250g caster sugar
250g brown sugar
500g self-raising flour
Seven eggs, whisked together
Two dessertspoons of ground ginger
Good handful of cut-up crystallised ginger
Two tins of pears, cut into pieces
Pre-heat the oven to 160C/Gas Mark 3
Butter and line a deep 12ins cake tin
Mix the sugar and butter together until thick and creamy, then add the crystallised ginger and ground ginger.
Sieve the flour into the bowl, then add the eggs, mixing well. Add the pears, stir again folding well with a spatula and making sure all the ingredients have combined. Leave the cake mixture in the bowl and make the syrup
For the syrup
300g soft dark brown sugar
Melt the butter and dark brown sugar in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring all the time until it becomes a smooth sauce. Pour into the cake tin and leave to go hard, this stage is very important. Pour the cake mixture into the tin and cook for one hour at 160C/Gas Mark 3 - test with a thin knife until it comes out of the cake clean. When the cake has come out of the oven, leave it in the tin for approximately 20 minutes, then turn it out on to a serving dish (sticky sauce on top).
Eat warm with cream as a pudding or leave to get cold and eat as a cake.