Cake - Traditional Music Making

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As cake has become quite a feature during the workshops, it was suggested that I should have a cake page!  I will add recipes that have been especially popular with the wonderful people who join us for our workshops.

This month's star bake is

Quick Extra Moist Fruit Cake (Gluten Free)
(from Phil Vickery's Gluten Free Baking)


100g raisins
100g sultanas
75g dried cranberries
125ml semi-skimmed milk, warmed
90g butter
125g caster sugar (I used half caster sugar and half dark muscavado)
180g gluten free flour mix (I used 100g brown rice flour, and 40g each tapioca flour and cornflour)
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2  tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
125ml semi-skimmed milk, warmed with 2 tsps glycerine
2 medium eggs, beaten


Soak dried fruit in the warmed milk for 2 hours or until the milk has been absorbed.
Preheat oven to 160C/gas 3. Oil a 2lb loaf tin and line with baking parchment.
Beat butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs and milk, mix the flour and other dry ingredients together then add to the mixture, stir well. Finally add the soaked fruit and liquid and spoon into the prepared tin.
Bake for 50-60 minutes. The cake is ready when a skewer insrted into the cake comes out clean.  Cool for 5minutyes in the tin then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack.

Gluten Free Plum and Polenta Cake

Apologies for the lack of photograph this month, I didn't manage to get the camera out before most of it had disappeared!


150g butter
150g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
300g plums or damsons
100g polenta
75g ground almonds
1 tsp orange essence
1 tsp xanthum gum
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 180C and line a 23cm round cake tin with baking paper.  Beat the butter and the sugar together until pale and fluffy, add the eggs and orange essence, beat in to combine.  Fold in the polenta, baking powder, xanthum gum and ground almonds.  Pour and scrape the mixture into the baking tin.  Cut the plums into wedges and push slightly into the surface of the cake.  Cook for about 40-45 minutes, test with a clean skewer (if it comes out clean your cake is done, if not give it another few minutes).  Allow the cake to cool in the cake tin before turning it out.

Lavender Cake

Bake this summer-scented cake to remind yourself of the days of Elizabeth I, a time when lavender was extremely popular not just for its fragrance but also its distinct flavour. Serves as many as the number of slices you can cut the cake into.


175g unsalted butter, softened
175g superfine sugar
3 eggs lightly beaten
150g self-rising flour sifted
1 t
bsp fresh lavender florets OR 1 tbsp dried culinary lavender
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 t
bsp milk
½ cup icing sugar, sifted
½ tsp water or lemon juice

a few fresh lavender florets for decoration


Heat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a ring pan or a deep 8-inch round, loose-bottomed cake pan. Cream the butter and sugar together thoroughly until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition, until mixture becomes thick and glossy. Fold in the flour, lavender florets, vanilla and milk. Spoon the mixture into the pan and bake for 1 hour. Let sit 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Mix the confectioner's sugar with the water until smooth. Pour over the cake and decorate with fresh lavender.

Note.  This cake is wonderful with the addition of the grated rind of a lemon and a tsp of lemon essence added to the batter.  Then make the icing with juice from the lemon.

Mary Berry's Chocolate and Ginger Flapjacks

175 g butter
50g dark chocolate
2 tbsp cocoa
225g light muscavado sugar
75g golden syrup
225g porridge oats
100g stem ginger, finely chopped

Line a 30x20cm tray bake or roasting tin with baking paper.  Preheat oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3.
Put butter, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, and syrup into a medium sized pan and warm over a low heat until everything has melted and is smooth.  Alternatively, put ingredients into a glass bowl and microwave until melted.
Stir in the oats and ginger and mix well.  Trasfer mixture into the prepared tin and press flat with the back of a spoon or a palette knife.
Bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes until the mixture is bubbling and a little darker at the edges - it will still feel soft in the centre.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin. When cold, turn out, remove paper and cut into squares or slices.

Date and Walnut Chewy Cake

I have been baking this cake for a lot of years now.  It is particularly good recipe as you can change the fruit and nuts to suit taste or for whatever you have in your store cupboard.  It also has the advantage of being very easy.

175 g butter
175g brown sugar
175g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
60g oats
175g dates (chopped)
60g Walnut pieces
1 large egg
Pinch of salt


Pre-heat the oven to 180c
Weight out all the dry ingredients into bowl.  Melt butter and sugar together, then stir into dry ingredients with the egg and bake in a greased and lined swiss roll tin for 20-30 minutes.  Mark into squares while the cake is cooling.  Cut out squares fully when cake is cold.  Enjoy!

Apple and Almond Pudding Cake – (Gluten Free)
Adapted from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's River Cottage Everyday

150g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
75g rice flour
25g corn flour
1 tsp xanthum gum
2 tsp baking powder
75g ground almonds

For the caramelised apples:
4 apples
25g unsalted butter
1 tbsp granulated sugar
Good pinch of cinnamon (optional)

125g flaked almonds
2 tbsp demerara sugar


  • Preheat oven to 170°C/gas 3. Grease a 20cm-diameter springform cake tin and line the base with baking   parchment.

  • Peel, core and quarter the apples, then cut each quarter into three pieces.

  • Melt the 25g butter in a frying pan big enough to take all the apple pieces, over a medium high heat.   When it's bubbling, add the sugar and stir gently until it has dissolved into the butter.

  • Add the apples and cook gently, turning once or twice, until they have softened and are starting to colour   5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

  • In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter with the caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat  in one egg at  a time, adding a spoonful of the flour with each to stop the mix curdling.  Combine the remaining flour,  the ground almonds and the cinnamon, and fold into the mixture. Scrape into the prepared tin.

  • Arrange the apples on top and pour on any buttery juices left in the pan. Sprinkle with flaked almond and  then 2 tablespoons of demerara sugar.

  • Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes  out clean.

  • Stand the cake in its tin on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes, then release the tin. Serve the cake warm with clotted cream - or cold.


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