Sunday, 15 August 2010

My Mother's Fruit Cake

This is the cake of my childhood.
The recipe is in ounces and gills
and it is always wrapped in greaseproof paper.
The smell of it reminds me of picnics on the beach
or perhaps a late afternoon in a boat;
rugs and wellies at point-to-points
or sheltering under rocks on the moor.
When I asked my mother for the recipe
she said, without thinking,
"just sling it all together"


  1. Presuming your mother won't accept cash as a bribe may I proffer flowers from a second bloom of my Albertine rose?

  2. Isn't that always the way?

  3. I am convinced that you grew up in a Noel Streatfield novel.

    I used to read about your adventures all the time, so I can almost taste that cake myself.

    Please thank your mother for me x

  4. Just the sort of cake you eat a slab of -not a piece or a slice.

    I feel compelled to dig out my fruit cake recipe now.

    I do admire the simplicity of your posts Alice.

  5. I have several of those recipes from my own grandma. Never attempted to make them though as I am not a throw-it-all-in-there type. SIGH.

  6. The confidence of the experienced baker.

  7. What are gills? I thought they were only found on fish

  8. My mums xmas cake is in a recipe like that and I have to ask her to convert it for me every time we make is absolutly delicious tho and smells divine, you can't beat a good fruit cake!

  9. Mmm! My mum has recipes like that too with no directions. But at least this one has measurements, even if they are in gills?! K x

  10. Sounds like my mother's rock cake recipe. Cake looks terrific - definitely one to eat outdoors. I'm now immediately transported back to my first primary school, chanting:
    Four gills make a pint, two pints make a quart, four quarts make a gallon. A pint of water weighs a pound and a quarter, a gallon weighs 10 pounds. Don't ask me about bushels and pecks though, they've gone from my memory over the last 50 years!

  11. used to be able to get all this information on the back of a Woolworth's exercise book. Rods/poles/perches/chains etc

  12. That looks slinged to perfection. (slung)

  13. Could you post the recipe? thanks! Mary Beth

  14. Dear Mary Beth,
    This is a very old fashioned recipe - probably from the war. It makes a medium weight fruit cake which keeps well. The recipe really is in the post - I don't have anything more than that - but I am sure that you will be able to find a similar cake in most traditional baking books e.g. Mary Berry.


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