This fabulous recipe is a combination of two very old Scottish ones, both beautifully written in a flowery hand. There is one recipe in an anonymous book from the late seventeenth century which has an elaborate recipe for a ‘plume caike’ starting ‘Take 7 pounds of flower [sic] then take a pynt of creame and two pounds of butter . . .’ It also has 22 eggs in it, so we are not talking small cakes! The other recipe is from
There is one ingredient in
I have also found some early twentieth-century recipes for plum cake in Scotland that are similar, but often include black treacle which would make it richer and darker. Plum cake, just like plum pudding, was the term used to refer to any cake or pudding made with raisins or other dried fruits.
This cake, which has the same basic flavourings as the old recipes (some of which, from the 1700s, advocate adding ‘some sweetmeats if you please’), is wonderfully moist. I imagine this probably comes from the unusual addition of cream.
Don’t be put off by the inordinate number of ingredients! It is one of the nicest fruit cakes I know, and so easy to make.
Mix the first eleven ingredients together in a large bowl, with
Once well combined, spoon into a lined 22cm/8½in cake tin (ensure the paper is above the rim of the tin) and
Place a piece of foil loosely over the top and continue to bake for a further 1¼ hours (2¼ hours altogether). Check it is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre; it should come out clean.
Remove to a wire rack to cool before removing from the tin.
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