Mary’s Cake

It was a grey drizzly day today, I was feeling like I possibly might come down with a cold (I didn’t, thankfully!) and I had a yen for something warm and comforting…

Years ago, when my friend Fiona lived at home, we would go out to visit her and her family in their beautiful home beside the sea; eat brown bread and this cake, (below) which is a boiled fruit cake, but forever more known in our house as “Mary’s Cake” (Mary being Fionas mother, Baker-Extraordinaire)

I went through a phase of making this very regularly, but haven’t made it in a year or two, but as soon as I was even mixing the ingredients, the warm, spicy, wafting aroma brought me back to when we only had one little boy who was a tiny baby, sitting at their table drinking hot tea and eating our way through Mary’s home baking (it was entirely a co-incidence that we happened to visit on Saturday afternoons 🙂 )

Mary’s Cake

Pre-heat oven to 160’C, line a 2lb tin in greaseproof paper


200g butter

200g brown sugar

100ml water

400g dried fruit (sultanas/raisins/mixed fruit)

300g flour

2 eggs

1/2 teasp. bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teasp. mixed spice

1/2 teasp. salt

In a saucepan, melt the butter and sugar in the water. When melted, add the fruit, simmer for 5 mins, then turn the heat off and let the fruit soak up any of the buttery syrup.

In a bowl, sift the flour, bicarb, salt and mixed spice. Make a well in the centre, an cracking the eggs,

and stir into the flour until the mixture is crumbly like this:

Pour in the saucepan of fruit and syrup,

and stir well into the flour mixture,

then quickly pour into the prepared tin.

Cook for 1 and a half hour, then let cool in the tin before turning out.

(those “overhangs” either side weren’t part of the plan, but, oh gosh, crunchy and delicious!!)

(Half eaten, it crumbled as soon as I cut into it and those scavengers children of mine dived in)

This cake is as easy as pie- lasts for days wrapped in a tea-towel in a tin, but, in our house, if it lasts the hour after coming out of the oven, hot and crumbly, we consider ourselves lucky!! An imperative to eat with a pot of tea, and if there is any left when it goes cold, some “real” butter.