Saturday, 26 January 2013

January's (second) bake of the month

When I was growing up this cake was always a big favourite with everyone at home. My mam would usually make it on a Saturday afternoon and we'd sit at the kitchen table drumming our fingers and staring at the oven waiting for it to cook.

The anticipation was even worse when it came out of the oven as it's fabulous warm so we’d sit at the kitchen table waiting impatiently for it to be cool enough to eat.

Unlike normal fruit or spice cakes, the butter and sugar aren't creamed together. Instead the flour and butter are rubbed together, just like in making pastry. This is what gives the cake it’s beautiful texture. 

 As the cake is quite crumbly, if you try and cut small slices, especially when it’s warm, it disintegrates. So, the only solution is to have large slices !!!!

Country spice cake

  • 8oz/225g self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon of ground mix spice
  • 3oz/75g margarine or butter
  • 4oz/100g soft brown sugar
  • 4oz/100g raisins
  • 4oz/100g sultanas
  • 2oz/50g mixed peel, chopped
  • 2oz/50g glace cherries, chopped
  • ¼ pint/150ml milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten into the milk
  • Pre-heat oven to 180º c/Gas Mk 4. Fan oven 160ºc.
  • Line a 7 inch/18cm round cake tin with baking parchment. You could use one of the special cake liners (Lakeland sell them and they're brilliant), however I think a fruit cake tin deserves to be lined the traditional way. 
  • Sift the flour and mix spice together into a large bowl then rub in the margarine or butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs – just like when making pastry.
  • Next add the sugar, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel and cherries to the bowl and give it a quick stir to mix everything together. 
  • Finally mix in the beaten egg and milk. The mixture should drop from a wooden spoon when shaken. If it doesn’t then add a little more milk. 
  • Pour into the tin then make a slight well in the centre – this stops the middle rising too much.
  • Bake in the oven for 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean. I prefer to use a piece of spaghetti for this but you could use a clean knitting needle or cocktail stick. Leave it in the tin for five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. Resist as long as you can before cutting into it !!!

Gertie xx

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