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  Ale cake 10 Feb 2006  
Julie Duff's recipe

In the first in our new series of regional cake recipes, Julie Duff of Church Farmhouse Cakes shows Anna McNamee her recipe for Ale Cake. Originally commissioned by a broadsheet newspaper to send to the Radio 4 cricket commentators and players in the West Indies, Julie's cake is equally suited for consumption with coffee or tea, or served warm as a pudding.

225g raisins
225g sultanas
350g currants
75g citrus peel
250ml strong English ale
225g butter
225g dark brown muscovado sugar
1 tablespoon black treacle
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
225g plain flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4

In a large bowl, steep the fruits and the citrus peel in the ale, leaving it for at least 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, beat in the treacle and then slowly add the eggs, flour and spice, a little at a time until thoroughly mixed together. Stir in the steeped fruits and pile the mixture into a greased and lined 20cm round cake tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for one hour, reducing the temperature to 120C/250F/Gas Mark 1/2 for a further 2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out cleanly. Because of the quantity of liquid used in making this cake, it may take a little longer to cook, but don't worry, this is perfectly normal.

Cover with a cloth and leave the cake in the tin to become cold, then turn it out and peel the greaseproof paper away.

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