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English Vinegar Cake

This fruit cake recipe is lighter and less rich than those made with eggs because the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar act as raising agents. When cooked, the vinegar loses its acidity and provides just a hint of tartness. This cake is sometimes sliced and served with cheese.

ingredients

makes 16 slices
225 g (8 oz) butter
450 g (1 lb) plain flour
450 g (1 lb) mixed dried fruit
225 g (8 oz) light soft brown sugar
5 ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda
300 ml {1/2 pint) fresh milk
45 ml (3 tbsp) malt vinegar

method

1. Grease a deep 23 cm (9 inch) round cake tin.

2. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the fruit and sugar. Sprinkle the bicarbonate of soda into the milk, then add the vinegar. This will froth up. While it is still foaming, add it to the dry ingredients and mix in well.

3. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and bake at 200°C (400°F) mark 6 for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 170°C (325°F) mark 3 and bake for another 1 1/2 hours or until firm to the touch. If the top gets too brown, cover with paper. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

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