Vinegar Cake

A Norfolk farmhouse recipe for a good, plain fruit cake that will keep for a week or so, the flavour improving all the time. The recipe requires no eggs.


  • 2 sticks (240 g) butter
  • 1 lb (½ kg) self-raising flour
  • 1 cup (240 g) sugar
  • 1⅓ cups (240 g) raisins
  • 1⅓ cups (240 g) sultanas
  • ½ cup (1.2 dl) milk
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda mixed with 1 tablespoon milk


Rub the butter into the flour to give a crumb-like consistency. Mix in the sugar and dried fruit.

Put the milk into a large jug or bowl and add the vinegar. Pour the bicarbonate of soda and milk mixture all at once into the milk and vinegar. It will froth and may overflow so should be held over the cake bowl. Stir the liquid into the cake mixture, beat well and put into a well-greased 9 inch (23 cm) cake tin. Bake at 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4) for 30 minutes and then reduce the heat to 300°F (160°C, Gas Mark 2) and bake for a further 1¼ hours. Lightly cover the top with foil if it is becoming too dark.