Medium to heavy yeast-raised fruit cake made with sugar, saffron and sweet spices. Made as buns, as a plaited loaf or, now most commonly, in a rectangular tin.
The widespread use of saffron in breads and cakes, and the eating of them with clotted cream, is a distinctly Devon and Cornwall tradition.
Original Receipt from 'The London art of cookery and domestic housekeeper's complete assistant' By John Farley (Farley 1811)
TAKE a quartern of fine flour, a pound and a half of butter, three ounces of carraway seeds, six eggs well beaten, a quarter of an ounce of cloves and mace finely beaten together, a little cinnamon pounded, a pound of sugar, a little rose water and saffron, a pint and a half of yeast, and a quart of milk. Mix all together lightly with the hands in this manner: first boil the milk and butter, then skim off the butter, and mix it with the flow and a little of the milk. Stir the yeast into the rest, and strain it: mix it with the flour, put in the seeds and spice, rose water, tincture of saffron, sugar, and eggs : beat it all well up lightly with the hands, and bake it in a hoop or pan well buttered .It will take an hour and a half in a quick oven. The seeds may be omitted; and some think the cake is better without them.
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