EDP Norfolk - - Food & Drink -

This recipe is for a 20cm deep cake tin or a 18cm square one. It is dark, rich and full of fruit – I soak the fruit in brandy, but whisky works well too. Al­ways check the date on the nut­meg and mixed spices; they do lose their flavour the older they get. I find I get a bet­ter cake if you cream the but­ter and sugar in a mixer un­til light and fluffy, then add and mix in the other in­gre­di­ents by hand.


50g cur­rants 175g raisins 175g sul­tanas 115g glace cher­ries, rinsed and quar­tered 50g mixed peel Three good ta­ble­spoons brandy


1. Place all the fruit in a bowl, and stir in the brandy, cover and leave for at least 12 hours.


225g un­salted but­ter 225g dark soft brown sugar 4 large eggs 225g plain flour ½ tea­spoon salt ¼ tea­spoon freshly grated nut­meg ½ tea­spoon mixed spice 1 dessert spoon black trea­cle Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 or­ange


1. Pre­heat the oven to 140°C/Fan 120°C/ Gas 1 2. Grease and line a 20cm deep round tin with a dou­ble layer of greased grease­proof pa­per.

3. Cream to­gether the but­ter and sugar, un­til light and fluffy.

4. Whisk the eggs. Re­move the bowl from the mixer then slowly add the egg, a lit­tle at a time, to the creamed mix, beat­ing thor­oughly us­ing a spoon or whisk, if the mix starts to cur­dle stir in a lit­tle of the flour. When all the egg has been added, care­fully fold in the flour, salt and spices, then stir in the black trea­cle and add the lemon and or­ange zest.

5. Bake in the cen­tre of the pre­heated oven for 4-4½ hours, or un­til the cake feels firm to the touch and is a rich golden brown. Check af­ter two hours, and if the cake is a per­fect colour, cover with foil. A skewer in­serted into the cen­tre of the cake should come out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

6. In the Aga I bake my cake in the sim­mer­ing oven. It may need a lit­tle ex­tra time but works bril­liantly.

7. When cool, pierce the cake at in­ter­vals with a fine skewer and feed with a lit­tle ex­tra brandy. Wrap the com­pletely cold cake in a dou­ble layer of grease­proof pa­per, and again in foil, then store in a cool place, feed­ing at in­ter­vals with more brandy. (Don’t re­move the lin­ing pa­per when stor­ing as this helps to keep the cake moist.)

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