A Cake from Cumberland Recipe

Cumberland Cake
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 Updated 26/01/2016

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This cake, which comes from the north English county of Cumbria, is a great example of a spiced, regional fruit cake which uses lard as the fat. This probably dates from a time when lard more readily available than butter. It's simple to make and tastes great with a cup of tea; if you are looking for a little bit more decadence, you could even spread some creamy butter on your slice!


  • 1/2 lb (1 American cup) lard
  • 1/2 lb (1 American cup) sugar
  • 1 lb (1 American cup) golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 lb (4 American cups) flour
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • milk
  • 4oz (1 American cup) currants
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest grated finely
  • 1 egg
(see measure conversions for more information on quantites)


  1. Put the syrup, lard and sugar into a saucepan and melt over a low heat.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Put a little milk into a small jug and dissolve the bicarbonate in it.
  4. Stir this into the syrup, lard and sugar mix.
  5. Beat the dry ingredients into the mixture.
  6. Lastly beat in the egg and a little more milk if the consistency is too dry.
  7. Bake in a deep cake tin for about 2 hours in a moderate oven.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 120 minutes

Yield: 1 cake


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