Gyles Brandreth launched Poetry Together 2021 on ITV’s This Morning – with a Victoria sponge made from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall’s personal recipe.
The Duchess of Cornwall has provided her cake recipe (see below) for the Poetry Together tea parties. She has supported Poetry Together since the initiative was launched by Gyles Brandreth in 2019 in partnership with Dukes Education and National Poetry Day.
Poetry Together is a simple but powerful idea; to bring old people and young people together through the power of poetry. Schools and care homes are encouraged to sign up at www.poetrytogether.com and link with each other locally. Pupils and care home residents then learn a poem by heart and meet up to recite it together and enjoy tea and cake in the weeks following National Poetry Day on 7 October 2021. More than 200 schools and care homes from across the UK have already signed up this year.
To celebrate, Gyles Brandreth has written an accompanying poem:
The Poetry Together Cake
The old and the young went to tea
With a beautiful home-made cake.
It was Camilla’s version of Victoria sponge,
Delicious and easy to bake.
The old and young learnt a poem by heart
And performed it with their tea.
‘Let’s get together,’ they said,
‘Whatever the weather,’
‘Let’s get together,’ they said,
‘For poetry, cake and tea!
Gyles Brandreth said: “This is amazing, we now have the freedom for old people and young people to meet up at school or in care homes, perform poetry together that they have all learnt by heart, and enjoy tea and cake. And not just any cake, a Royal cake! What more could you want?”
Aatif Hassan, founder and chairman of Dukes Education, said:
“We are really pleased to be able to support Poetry Together again this year and bring communities together in person following a challenging time for both schools and care homes. Poetry has the power to educate us, enrich us and lift us and I look forward to seeing the smiles on the faces of both young and old at all the wonderful Poetry Together tea parties that will take place this year.”
Recipe for HRH The Duchess of Cornwall’s Poetry Together cake
4 oz self-raising flour (110g), sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 oz soft margarine or butter (110g), at room temperature
4 oz caster sugar (110g)
2 large eggs
2-3 drops of pure vanilla essence
Lemon curd or jam (with fresh cream, optional) or Nutella or your filling of choice,
and sifted icing sugar
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3, 325F, 170C
Two 7-inch (18 cm) sponge tins, no less than 1 inch (2.5cm) deep, lightly greased and lined with greaseproof paper (also greased) or silicone paper
Take a large roomy mixing bowl, and sift flour and baking powder into it, holding the sieve high to give the flour a good airing. Then simply add all the other ingredients to the bowl and whisk them – preferably with an electric hand whisk – till thoroughly combined. If the mixture doesn’t drop off a wooden spoon easily when tapped on the side of the bowl, then add 1 or 2 teaspoons of tap-warm water, and whisk again.
Now divide the mixture between the two prepared tins, level off and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for about 30 minutes. When cooked leave them in the tins for only about 30 seconds, then loosen the edges by sliding a palette knife all round and turn them onto a wire cooling rack. Peel off the base papers carefully and, when cool, sandwich the cakes together with lemon curd or jam (or jam and fresh cream) or Nutella or your filling of choice, and dust with icing sugar.
(The Duchess loves poetry. And chocolate, too. You can make a chocolate version of the Poetry Together cake if you like. Simply omit the vanilla essence and add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder to the basic ingredients.)
Register Interest for Poetry Together 2021