“It’s kind of like a flapjack” is about the closest we’ve come in the last 14 years to eloquently describe our Cuthbert Cake. And it kind of is a flapjack - but it’s also so much more!
Fortunately, it sells itself in looks alone. Crammed full of fruits (rumoured to have been inspired by the gorgeous colours of the Lindisfarne Gospels), nuts and spices, this hearty slab of oaty goodness really hits the spot. Given the namesake of St. Cuthbert himself - we like to think that if ovens existed in 635AD, this would have been top of the menu.
For years, this recipe was a closely guarded secret, before featuring in Vicky’s cookbook, “A Taste of Holy Island”. Now, after more requests than we can count, we’re sharing our recipe along with a couple of tweaks and some of Vicky’s pro top tips for ultimate Cuthbert Cake perfection.
Serves 12 (ve, gf is using certified oats)
Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Bake Time: 20 - 30 Minutes
500g Porridge Oats (these are more absorbent and make for a more structured cake)
250ml Vegetable Oil
250g Golden Syrup
100g Light Brown Sugar (Optional)
1 Lemon - Zested and Juiced
1 Orange - Zested and Juiced
250g Desiccated Coconut
125g Flaked Almonds
125g Pistachios (whizzed into small pieces)
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Caraway Seeds
125g Dried Cranberries
1 Mashed Banana (80 - 100g)
80ml Lemon Juice (2-3 Lemons)
500g Icing Sugar
A sprinkle of Cranberry Powder
A sprinkle of whizzed pistachios
TOP TIP: Traditionalists may want to stay true to the Pilgrims way, but we would also urge you to experiment and make this cake your own. Swap the nuts and dried fruit for your own favourites. Honey makes a delightful replacement to the golden syrup if you prefer and forgo the icing for a refined-sugar free version.
TOP TIP: If you have access to a stand mixer, leave the ingredients to mix for 2-3 minutes so that the oats fully absorb the liquid. If using a wooden spoon mix, then let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes before mixing again.
TOP TIP: Using either the back of your spoon, or your hands if you don’t mind getting sticky, press the mixture down so that it’s really compact
TOP TIP: If you want to achieve a glossy finish, add a dash of water to the mixture
TOP TIP: The icing will settle very quickly so if you’d like your finishing touches to stick to the icing, add them quickly! In the cafe, we use whizzed pistachios and powdered cranberries. However, toasted coconut flaked almonds, lemon zest or slices of candied peel would also work well. Alternatively you can leave the toppings - the cake tastes delicious without!