Every body in and about Highbury who had ever visited Mr. Elton, was disposed to pay him attention on his marriage. Dinner-parties and evening-parties were made for him and his lady; and invitations flowed in so fast that she had soon the pleasure of apprehending they were never to have a disengaged day…No invitation came amiss to her. Her Bath habits made evening-parties perfectly natural to her, and Maple Grove had given her a taste for dinners. She was a little shocked at the want of two drawing rooms, at the poor attempt at rout-cakes, and there being no ice in the Highbury card parties. Mrs. Bates, Mrs. Perry, Mrs. Goddard and others, were a good deal behind hand in knowledge of the world, but she would soon shew them how every thing ought to be arranged.
During the Regency evening parties were much the rage. The word rout, synonymous with large unruly gatherings, soon came to mean a fashionable assembly, or large evening party. Mrs. Elton, with all her Bath society ways, was quite pleased to find that, though country parties might be smaller (Recall Mrs Bennet’s four and twenty families), they were no less frequent.
Just as Afternoon Tea had it’s own rituals and recipes, Routs could be counted on to supply a few favorites. Rout Cake, a kind of rich sweet cake flavored with fruit, was created especially for the occasion. To create your own, try one of the following recipes.
Mix two pounds of flour, one ditto butter, one ditto sugar, one ditto currents, clean and dry; then wet into a stiff paste, with 2 eggs, a large spoonful of orange-flower water, ditto sweet wine, ditto brandy, drop on a tin-plate floured: a very short time bakes them.
1¼ cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar
1 small egg
½ tsp orange juice
½ tsp rose-water
1 tsp sweet white wine or sherry
1 tsp brandy
¼ cup currants
- Set the oven to heat to 350.
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
- Work in the butter to make a crumbly mixture, then add the sugar.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg until liquid.
- Add the juice, rosewater, wine or sherry, and brandy. Stir well.
- Then mix the liquids by degrees into the dry goods, to obtain a smooth dough.
- Lastly mix in the fruit.
- Put the cake mixture in small, neat heaps (3/4″ across) on a lightly greased baking-sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 16-18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
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