I first wrote about a cake featuring in The Drowning of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes two years ago in my Novelicious column. In this highly anticipated novel, as ever, when reading a Caroline Smailes book, I was astounded by her unique writing and her ability to completely and utterly reel you in, despite the sometimes disturbing nature of the subject matter.
I’ve followed Caroline’s writing career from almost the beginning and so was delighted to read that The Drowning of Arthur Braxton is being turned into a film. Funds have been raised via Kickstarter, the target of which they have surpassed, and it is just in the process of getting underway. You can read more about it on their Facebook page.
So, I’m celebrating for Caroline with scones.
The Drowning of Arthur Braxton focuses on adolescence and the pain that comes with it. It’s also about love.
Love comes along in many guises. Even as a cake.
Laurel, a school girl, is working and earning money at The Oracle, an old Edwardian bathhouse. The Oracle is a place where people go to get healed by the three water healers: Madame Pythia, Martin Savage and Silver.
Because of Laurel’s life at home, when someone shows her kindness, no matter how small, it is a Big Event. She would get smarties from Silver and, from Ada Harvey, one of the customers requesting healing, she would often get a fairy cake or a scone.
People who bake often like to foist their homemade goods on to other people. I know, because I’m one of them. It is their way of showing affection. A way of showing they care. Nourishment to feed the body and soul wrapped up in a piece of kitchen paper.
By baking a scone, a baked good that has all the comfort of bread, but with a dash of sugar to inject that delicious treat, Ada Harvey has touched Laurel. And Laurel devours that scone as though she hasn’t eaten properly for a week. (And to be fair, she probably hasn’t.)
I like my scones with jam and cream, or when cream is lacking, covered with a centimetre of butter. But there is no clotted cream or creamy butter for Laurel – I think Laurel might have her scone smeared with just a touch of margarine. Mind you, I don’t think she cares if it’s plain.
Recipe for Homemade Scones
- 325g self raising flour
- 40g caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 85g butter, diced into small pieces
- 160ml milk
- 1 beaten egg to glaze
Baking tray lined with baking parchment, pastry cutter (or drinking glass), egg wash brush.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan.
- Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar.
- Rub in the butter with your finger tips to resemble breadcrumbs.
- Add the milk to the dry ingredients and stir in.
- Once the dough is formed turn out onto a floured surface and flatten gently with your hands to about 2cm thick.
- Cut out the shapes and place onto baking tray.
- Re-form left over dough and flatten (gently!) again. Continue until all dough has been used up.
- Glaze with the beaten egg.
- Place in oven for about 12-15 minutes.
- Serve plain, with clotted cream and jam or butter.