To celebrate Saint Pirans Day, we’ve a treat for you this month by way of a truly Cornish recipe and one of our favourites, Heavy Cake. Heavy Cake is a rich, fruit pastry rather than a traditional cake texture and as the name suggests contains no raising agents. Fruit is a popular ingredient in many traditional Cornish recipes such as yeast buns and saffron buns and may hark back to the time when the Phoenicians visited the county. A nation of great seafarers and traders, they visited Cornwall over 2000 years ago to export tin. It is thought that they may have been one of the nations to introduce rich fruits and spices including saffron to the county. There are many different versions of this recipe, some include peel, some include sultanas as well as currants and some use only plain flour. This version has been tried and tested in Granny Spears family for over 50 years and we think it’s a pretty tasty one!
¼ lb (100g) Self-raising flour
¾ lb (350g) Plain flour
½lb (225g) Lard
¼ lb (100g) Granulated sugar
4-5oz Currants (to taste)
1 Egg, beaten
A little milk
Baking sheet covered with silicone paper (baking parchment)
Place all of the flour into a bowl and roughly rub in the lard. Do not rub in too finely, leave some lumps.
Mix in the sugar and then add the currents.
Mix in the beaten egg and then add enough milk to form a dough. Do not let the dough get too wet as you need to be able to roll it out. It should resemble pastry.
Split the mixture into two, and shape each half into a rough oval.
Roll out each half into a round or oval shape (whichever you prefer), no less than ½ inch thick. The thicker the dough, the less dry the cake will be.
Place onto a baking sheet that has been lined with silicone paper. Make a criss-cross pattern across the top using a knife, to resemble a fishing net.
Brush with a little milk & sprinkle over a little granulated sugar.
Cook in a pre-heated oven on gas mark 6, 200c (180c fan), for half an hour. The cake should still be slightly moist in the middle.