You will need:

  • 4 oz, 110 g, of caster sugar.
  • 4 oz, 110 g, of butter or margarine.
  • 8 oz, 225 g, of self-raising flour.
  • 5 oz, 150 g, 1 small tub glace cherries, add a few more if you like them, the amount is not critical.
  • 2 medium sized eggs.
  • 3 or 4 tbsps of cold milk.
  • 1 heaped tsp of ground ginger (optional).
  • a few drops of vanilla essence or extract (optional).

Set the oven to Gas Mark 4, 350 f, 180 C,
160 Fan.

Grease a 2 lb, 900 g, oblong, loaf tin
and line it, with either a ready-made liner, or by measuring and cutting
a sheet of greaseproof or parchment paper to fit, (see glossary on how to
grease and line cake tins for more information).

  1. Now grease the liner or paper as well.
  2. Wash the cherries in a small bowl of cold water
    to remove the syrup, drain them and put them onto a plate and cut each one in
  3. Lay a double thickness of kitchen towel or absorbent paper on your
    worktop and spread the cherries out on
    it. Cover them over with absorbent paper so that they are now sandwiched between the two layers, and pat
    them dry to remove any moisture or stickiness. Now that you’ve done this the cherries will not sink to the bottom
    of the cake during cooking.
  4. Leave the cherries to one side, still in
    their paper while you carry on preparing the cake.
  5. Break the eggs into a small bowl, smell them
    to make sure that they are fresh, beat with a fork for a minute to
    add some air.
  6. Now, stir in the milk and a few drops of vanilla essence or extract if you wish to
    use this, by covering the top of the bottle with your finger so that you can
    monitor the amount coming out, (vanilla extract is less potent so you will need
    to add more of it). Leave this bowl on
    one side.
  7. Sift the flour and ground ginger (optional)
    into a large mixing bowl.
  8. Break the butter or margarine into small pieces and drop them into the centre of the flour.
  9. Now, using the fingertips and thumbs of both hands, rub the fat into the
    flour until it resembles fine
    breadcrumbs. (See glossary on the rubbing
    in method for more information).
  10. Next, use a tablespoon to stir in the sugar.
  11. Now, remove the cherries from the paper
    and stir them in until they are evenly distributed throughout
    the mixture.
  12. Pour in the egg and milk and stir well.
  13. Now that all the ingredients have been combined, the cake should be of a soft, (dropping consistency), which means
    that it should fall easily from the tablespoon when shaken gently over the bowl.
    If it is necessary to tap or shake the spoon vigorously when you try
    this, add a little more milk, stir the
    cake again and repeat the process.
  14. Spoon the cake mix into your prepared tin. Level
    the top surface with a round bladed knife, by keeping the blade flat and skimming it along the length of the
    tin, it will ensure that the mixture spreads out evenly, right to the edges and
  15. Cook just below the centre of the pre-heated oven for about an hour and five minutes, by which time your cake
    will be golden and firm to the touch.
  16. Leave it in the tin to cool for about 20 minutes, then put a cooling rack on a clean worktop, hold the tin in both
    hands, upside down over it, give it a gentle shake and the cake should slide
    out easily on to it. Leave to go
    completely cold before storing in an airtight tin.

Eat as soon as possible for best results.

The reason why I have called this cake rustic is that you will notice that the top surface will have cracked open a
little bit during cooking, this is quite normal. The rubbing in’ method used to make this cake, doesn’t give the
same even texture and result as in a more usual light sponge.

You will need to eat this cake within a few days to taste it at its best but I love it when it has cooled just enough to
take it from its tin, peel back the paper and slice it straight away when it is
still crusty on top and really warm and moist in the centre.
If you want to, you can make the cake without the cherries, and when it’s cold, slice it, and spread with a little
butter or margarine.

Alternatively, replace the cherries withsultanas, or omit one ounce of flour and add a tablespoon of coco powder or
drinking chocolate.