Honestly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like cake…well…come to think of it, I do, but let’s not go into that. It hasn’t been *that* hot in Surrey but we had some summer weather lately so I wasn’t doing much baking. I made this cake quite a while ago and I loved it. I cannot take call the credit for it because it came to me via the National Trust, with little changes (found on their Teatime Baking Book). The story behind why I like this recipe so much is simple: I am always on the lookout for a good winter cake which resembles a Christmas cake but without the extra richness and without the extra faff. Faff here means making it 3 weeks before, putting extra booze every few days, and because of that the blessed thing usually lasts until July. Don’t get me wrong, you know that I *have* found the best ever fruit cake for Christmas, but this is a good alternative. Try it if you can and tell me what you think.
- 450g plain flour, sifted
- 4 teaspoons mixed spice
- 225g white shortening, softened at room temperature (I used Trex)
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 175g sultanas
- 175g currants
- 1 small apple, grated
- 300ml milk
- 2 teaspoons water (or milk)
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC and grease and line a square cake tin, preferably a 20cm one, but I made this in a 23cm one and it worked well.
- In a large bowl mix the flour, spice and rub in the shortening. Add the dried fruit, sugar, grated apple and mix very very well.
- Now add all the milk, the bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. When the dough is fairly wet, pour into the prepared cake tin and make the top smooth. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar and bake for around 45 minutes. Every oven is different so the baking time may vary. Insert a skewer or knife in the middle. If it comes out clean, your cake is done.
Perfect with tea on a cold autumn day. Enjoy!