Recipe for Boiled Cake (As featured in the Food and Drink section of the Target 04/09/13)
This is a very precious family recipe that was handed down to me from my Gran Carter and I believe it dates back to at least her Grandmother.
This is a very local Lincolnshire Recipe which dates from at least the 1800’s . My Great Great Grandmother Mrs Clarke lived at Woodside in Horsington and I would think that it was her recipe, but where she got it from remains lost in the mists of time. It would have then been passed on to my Great Grandmother “Grannie Howsam” and then onto my Gran Nellie Carter. All three generations lived at Woodside and the fourth Generation – my parents Hilary and Michael Carter live there now. I love the fact that when I bake this cake that it connects us in a very real way with our families past and I think that is at the heart of all family cooking.
It makes sense to double this recipe up as the cake freezes very well. Also if you can resist it, the cake benefits from keeping for a couple of days before you cut into it. It’s delicious on its own or with a bit of butter and cheese on, similar to how you would enjoy plum loaf.
The copy of the recipe I have is written on an old Prudential Assurance Company Limited Card, as my Aunty Carrie (Holland), who lived in Horncastle was the Pru’s Agent covering all the Wolds Villages to the East of Horncastle. She covered this huge area on her push bike! There must have been some blank cards lying around at home and the recipe is tucked inside a Warnes’s Everyday Model Cookery Book, which was compiled and edited by Mary Jewry and this edition was published in 1886. There were many different versions and editions of this book and it was one of the main competitors to the Beeton’s Books, the most famous of which “Mrs Beeton’s Household Management”, which was first published in 1861.
It is a very easy recipe to make and uses store cupboard ingredients. Due to the age of this recipe I hope you will forgive the fact that the measures are imperial.
You will need for one cake –
A loaf tin, greased and lined.
¼ pt water
6oz Mixed Fruit
4oz Butter or Marg
1 Beaten Egg
8oz S/R Flour
Pre heat your oven to 325f/Gas Mark 3/170c in a fan oven.
Put your fruit, water, sugar and butter/marg in a large saucepan and melt it all slowly together until everything has dissolved and the fruit has plumped up a bit. Keep giving it a stir once in a while. You don’t want to be boiling it as the name suggested, just melting it all gently.
When it has got to that stage leave it to cool down for a bit. This is important as if you put your beaten egg in when it is too hot you will end up with scrambled egg! Keep giving it a stir to cool it quicker, make yourself a cup of tea and then it should be about right when you have finished your cuppa.
Beat the egg, have your flour weighed, sifted and ready to go. Put the egg into your fruity mixture in the pan, give it a good stir.
Now add in your flour. If you fancy a bit of mixed spice in with your flour, feel free but don’t overdo it.
Give everything a good mix, pour it all into your tin and pop it in the oven.
I would start checking it after about 45 min as ovens vary so much. It should be a nice brown colour on top, it won’t rise a huge amount. Test by putting a skewer in the centre and if it comes out clean with no crumbs on it should be done. If the top starts to colour too much before it’s cooked through, just pop a bit of baking parchment on the top.
When ready take out, cool in the tin for about 5 min before you turn it out. When cool wrap in parchment, put in a tin and ideally wait a couple of days.
If you have made 2, wrap the one to be frozen in parchment and then in a freezer bag, label and freeze and it should be fine for 3 months. Defrost thoroughly at room temperature when you get it out.
I really hope you have a go at this recipe it is so easy to make and a really delicious taste of our Lincolnshire baking heritage.