Huntsman’s Cake

This is one of the best of all fruit cakes. It used to be made in the Cotswolds for the traditional after-hunting tea at which boiled eggs, bread and butter, and hot scones, crumpets or muffins were also served.


  • 1 stick (120 g) butter
  • ½ cup (120 g) castor sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups (240 g) self-raising flour
  • 1 cup (120 g) ground almonds
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cup (120 g) currants
  • ¾ cup (120 g) candied mixed peel
  • cup (60 g) glacé cherries
  • ½ cup (60 g) shredded almonds
  • 1 cup (2.4 dl) sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar


Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well in. Add the flour, ground almonds, salt, currants, peel, cherries and almonds gradually, then pour in half the sherry. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites, and finally the sodium bicarbonate dissolved in the vinegar. Put the cake mixture into a greased and papered tin and cover with a piece of greaseproof paper. Place in a hot oven, 425°F (220°C, Gas Mark 7). After 10 minutes lower the heat to 325°F (170°C, Gas Mark 3) and bake for 2 hours.

When cooked and still very hot, pour over the remaining sherry, by spoonfuls, and leave the cake in the tin, covered with a cloth, until it is quite cold.