Let them eat cake

Keen participants in hillwalking and cycling can become involved in all number of diversions, be it geology, natural history, bicycle mechanics and, err, cake.

Clambering over crag and scree, or grinding up a Pennine pass with gritted teeth incinerates calories and active folk need to find ready sources of fuel to keep going. Cake can be the answer.

From bannocks and brioche to Tarte Tatin and tea cakes, I love ‘em all. My favourite, though, has to be the simple fruit cake. Good on its own, even better with butter and a wedge of strong cheddar.

Unfortunately, I’m a clumsy oaf in the kitchen and possess very little talent when it comes to baking.

I required a foolproof recipe and, courtesy of a family friend, I now have a simple ‘one pot’ number:

‘Boiled’ fruit cake


8oz self raising flour
4oz butter
4oz sugar
6oz mixed fruit (the best you can get)
1 beaten egg
¼ pt water
Pinch of salt
½ level teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1 level tea spoon of mixed spice

Oven gas mark 2 150 deg C


Place butter, sugar, fruit and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil slowly. Boil gently for five minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.
Meanwhile, grease a 6-inch cake tin of loaf tin.
Once the mixture has been allowed to cool, sift the dry ingredients into the saucepan and mix together well with a wooden spoon. Now add the beaten egg.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours.
Allow to cool.

You can eat it straight away, of course, but I cut it into slices and freeze it for walking and cycling trips. This preserves its all-important moistness.



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