Recipe Shed – Boiled Cake

This recipe comes from the prompt Hand-Me-Downs those recipes that have been handed down to you from parents, grandparents, friends and well anyone.

I could probably write about a hundred posts on this.  Both my mother and Grandmas are/were excellent cooks, one Grandmother grew up in the Philippines, from Spanish/German roots; and had a passion for food, just thinking about her cooking is making my mouth water; except the diabetic chocolate cupcakes she made me when I last visited her in California, those were not good; but her cherry pie, barbecue ribs, adobo, pansitlumpia… I could go on and on.

My other Grandmother was British; a bit of English, a bit of Welsh; a make do and mend, get stuck in there kind of woman, she was a nurse in the war, and lived through bombing, rations and her husband being away until way past VJ day, when I think of her cooking I remember lots of tins, especially tinned cream; milk roll bread; sandwiches with the crusts cut off; french fancies; and a rather interesting dish with tinned Clementine segments, vinegar and chicken legs.  I am sure she made lots of other things; those are just those that come to mind.

Then there is my mother. She is an amazing cook. She doesn’t always have the opportunity to practice her skills, as she, like most Mums has to cook every day, often very quickly. Her ability to transform mince into about a thousand dishes is legendary, her cooked corned beef with big chunks of onion, not so much.  But she cooks yummy dishes, one favorite is Leche Flan, and it was that recipe that I was going to share with you, until I realised that I didn’t have the ingredients in the house and we didn’t really fancy eating eat at the moment, and I’d need to make it to get a picture of it (I’m trying to be good and not eat things with lots of sugar, and I could quite happily eat the whole things myself… tut tut) so to diminish the temptation of being a P, I, G, – pig, I remembered that I’d just made another of her “regulars“, Boiled Cake, so could photograph one of the remaining slices and share it’s recipe.

So here goes; Boiled cake is something I can make in my sleep, it’s one of those things I really like, a light fruitcake which is lovely and moist, doesn’t take long to prepare (a while to cook) and seems to be popular with those I have cooked it for, and that has been lots & lots.

So for those interested this is on page 77 of my “little black book“.

First you need to preheat the oven to 180°F/GM4/350°F and line the bottom of your tin with greaseproof paper, this cake works well in a 7 inch spring form tin, or my favorite, a loaf tin, give the sides a good rub with butter or marg, which should stop the cake from sticking too much.

Then put 60z/150g Butter (or Marg), 6oz/150g Sugar, 1/2 Pint/125ml Water, and 4oz/100g each of Raisins, Sultanas and Currants into a saucepan.  Now I have LOTS of Sultanas in my house at the moment, so I use 12oz/300g of them in the mix, and I have been known to add dried apricots or prunes too, as long as the final fruit weight is 12oz/300g, you can make your own mix up.

Bring this to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. If you hadn’t had gathered this is where the cake gets its name from.  The process plumps up the fruit and makes the cake very moist.

Measure 8oz/200g plain flour, 1tsp baking soda, 1 teaspoon mixed spice and 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger.  OK so that is Mum’s mixture of spices to add, I have experimented adding cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon and cayenne pepper in various quantities, and increasing or omitting the ground ginger and mixed spice (usually as I have run out and have to improvise) and I have to say I particularly like the flavour adding a tsp of cayenne gives, a sweet spiced cake with a slight kick afterwards that makes you go hmmm, that’s different, in a good way.

So you have your now cooled boiled mixture, to which you add two large eggs to and mix thoroughly, and then add the dry ingredients.  OK I admit it, I usually do this to the mix when it’s just stopped simmering, this results in the raising agent starting to work straight away and bubbling up, it is better if you let the mix cool first, but I’m usually making this at the last minute when I’ve friends coming round for coffee and I have no baking in the house (disaster).

Put the mixture into a the prepared tin and pop into the oven (180°F/GM4/350°F) for about an hour and a half.  Check the cake is cooked with a skewer leave for five minutes, turn out from the tin and leave to cool,  or as I usually do, squeal with delight that it’s finally finished cooking, turn it out straight away, slice and put on the table, just as my guests are walking through the door.

Recipe Shed