‘Elevenses’ Lumberjack Cake Recipe

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Cakes River Cottage HandbookAs its name suggests, this favourite of the burly Canadian woodcutter, is a hearty cake, full of fruity goodness. It’s just the thing to keep the wolf from the door when the hunger pangs kick in and lunchtime still seems hours away.

  • Yield: 8 hungry lumberjacks


For the Cake
  • 2 large eating apples (175–200 g), such as Cox’s or Russets
  • 250 g chopped dates
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
  • 175 g light soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 150 g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ground cloves
For the Topping
  • 75 g unsalted butter
  • 75 g soft brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 60 g desiccated coconut
  • 75 ml milk
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Peel, core and coarsely grate the apples into a bowl. Add the chopped dates and bicarbonate of soda, cover with 250 ml boiling water and stir together. Leave until warm.
  2. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat the butter to a cream, using a wooden spoon or hand-held electric whisk. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until well combined. Stir in the apple and date mixture, including the liquid, and mix well. Sift the flour, salt and ground cloves over the mixture and fold in carefully. The mixture will seem quite sloppy, but this is how it should be.
  3. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes or until quite firm to the touch. While the cake is in the oven, prepare the topping. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted and the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Take the cake out of the oven and spread the coconut mix over the top. Bake for a further 25–30 minutes until the topping is golden and the cake is cooked through.
  5. Leave the cake in the tin until completely cool before turning out. Lumberjack cake will keep for 3 days in an airtight tin. If you wish to keep it any longer, because of its high moisture content, it will need to be stored in the fridge.

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