Hop Pickers' Cake

When I was in town yesterday, I found a Bank Holiday bric a brac market. I love browsing in case I find old cookery books. To my delight, there was a stall selling nothing but cookery books. Heaven!

I bought 'The National Trust Book of tea-time recipes' [1991], an old red 'Mrs Beeton's Cookery Book', 'Good Housekeeping's Picture Recipe Book [1954] and 'The Baking Book' [1996] by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake. I like Linda Collister's recipes - she wrote the book that went with last year's 'Great British Bake Off'.

I decided today that I want to make some more British cakes, so decided on a 'Kentish Hop Pickers' Cake' from the National Trust book.

I lived in Kent for many years and visited hop farms. This is a lovely photo from an old calendar I had many years ago.

I've adapted the recipe to suit our likes in spices and dried fruit.

275g sr flour
1 tspn ginger
1 tspn cinnamon
175g soft margarine or butter
100g soft brown sugar
100g raisins
100g mixed fruit with peel
400ml milk
1 tbspn black treacle
1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
1 tspn cream of tartar

Preheat oven 160C/325F/gas 3

Grease a 900g loaf tin

Mix the flour and spices together then rub in the fat.
Add the sugar and the dried fruits and mix.
Warm the milk and the treacle and add to the flour mixture a bit at a time.
Beat this well, then pour it into the tin.
Bake for 1-11/4 hours.

The cake was the texture of my Granny's 'Bread pudding'. All the fruit was at the bottom in a layer. It was a very runny mixture when I put it in the tin. Maybe it's meant to be more of a pudding than a cake? Perhaps it needed more cooking? There are no photos in the book, so I can't tell how it's meant to look!

I've been doing a bit of research, and I found another recipe for this cake on a traditional British cakes site; it says that the cake is much like a lardy cake in texture, so maybe my cake is OK. It tastes good anyway!


Norm said…
That bookstall sounds like my idea of heaven too! I'm glad you picked up some classics (I think I might have that NT one too...).

Your cake looks great - one of those rib-sticking affairs that it perfect to warm/fill one up!

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