Greatest recipes ever: Mrs Asquith’s cup-of-tea cake

Charles Campion picks Mrs Asquith's cup-of-tea cake as one of his greatest recipes ever.

Farmhouse Fare is a magnificent book-unflinchingly practical, with those ‘shorthand’ recipes that presume that the reader has a basic level of cooking skill. The cup-of-tea cake is a traditional boiled fruitcake, and following the recipe means a juicy and moist fruit cake every time. You can easily imagine busy farmers’ wives flicking through this small book for inspiration’

Cup-of-tea cake
Extract from Farmhouse Fare: Recipes From Country Housewives Collected by Farmers Weekly, published by Countrywise Books in 1973 (first published by Agricultural Press in 1935)

4oz butter
½lb mixed fruit (currants, sultanas, candied peel)
1 cup tea
½lb self-raising flower
4oz sugar
1tsp each of bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice
1 egg

Melt butter in pan, add fruit and tea. Bring to boil and simmer for two minutes. Cool. Sieve dry ingredients, add boiled mixture and egg, mix well. Bake for 1¼ hours at 350˚F in a 7in tin.

From Mrs Asquith, Harrogate