Ripon Spice Cake

As someone who has been living in Yorkshire for the past 20 years and who loves living in such a pretty part of the UK, I am always looking to bake something regional and traditional.

Before Christmas I decided to do a bit of research on looking into local and Yorkshire recipes.  Usually when you research Yorkshire baking recipes people automatically think of Parkin or Fat Rascals.  I love both of these but wanted to find other recipes which were different.  I suddenly remembered a fabulous book that was bought for me a couple of years back by my dad and step mum called “Cakes Regional And Traditional” by Julie Duff.  I have not got round to baking any recipes from it yet, although I have been looking at loads of them.

Suddenly, a recipe for Ripon Spice Cake leapt out of the page at me.  It did not come with an accompanying picture but it was clear it made 2 loaves, rather like a tea bread. It did not contain yeast or tea though.  The spice came from mace and ground mixed spice, as well as delicious flavours coming through from lemon zest, mixed fruit, cherries and citrus peel as well as ground almonds. I couldn’t wait to try it.

I was also interested in the origins of the cake, as I live about 13 miles from Ripon and it’s a city I know very well and go to a lot.  However, the author Julie Duff says in the recipe introduction that there was no local reference to the recipes when she did her research, although it features in several old recipe books. At this present time I do not know any local tearoom or cafe that serves this delicious fruit loaf cake. I might be wrong though so do correct me if I am wrong.

I noticed one ingredient I needed was mace but I did not have it. I wasn’t even sure if I had ever used it in something, is it meant to be like nutmeg? I added cinnamon to the mixture to replace the mace, not sure whether this would work or not.

All the ingredients were mixed together and placed into two greased and lined loaf tins.  The fruit did not require any presoaking and the recipe was easy to make in a quick way if you were in a hurry.

Ripon Spice Cake- a fruity loaf cake with the aroma of mace and  mixed spice and almonds.

About an hour later the cakes were ready to come out of the oven. I let them cool down and wrapped one up to take to work to share with my work colleagues. I cut up the remaining one and noticed it was quite crumbly.

The verdict? Everyone who ate a piece said it was delicious. I was a bit concerned about it being crumbly and wondered if I had cut it up too soon after coming out of the oven or whether I had mixed it properly.
Definitely one to try again.

Happy Baking!
Sam xx

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