By Mike Armstrong

ALL proud residents of our county will no doubt be aware that Yorkshire Day is fast approaching.

So let’s tip our flat caps to Yorkshire and say a big “Ey-up” to God’s own county as we all sit, scratching our heads wondering how on earth we’ve nearly reached August already.

Our great county has been in existence for more than a thousand years, so why pick the first of August for Yorkshire Day?

Because this was the date of the battle of Minden of 1759.

This decisive clash occurred during the Seven Years War, in which Yorkshire regiments fought wearing a white rose plucked from the gardens as a good luck emblem as they marched off towards combat.

Right, now the history lesson is over, it’s time to turn to our bellies as I have a reet treat for you.

Fancy a big wedge of Yorkshire Brack cake and a slice of Wensleydale cheese? Then let’s make a day of it.

I’m sure most Yorkshire tykes won’t be hanging out the bunting or organising street parties this Yorkshire Day, but surely it wouldn’t do us any harm to mark the occasion by baking a Brack cake to help celebrate the day?

Not everyone is fortunate enough to be Yorkshire born and bred but worry not, it is possible to eat this Yorkshire cuisine any day of the year, no need to come up with an excuse for making it.

The cake is moist, and has a treacly, caramel type flavour. It is also packed to the rafters with luscious fruits, which need an overnight soaking in steaming Yorkshire tea from the caddy to do them justice. It is a simple cake but is guaranteed to keep you coming back for more.

The word “Brack” may not be familiar to anyone from beyond our borders, so it merits explanation.

In bakery terms, Brack is a cake made without the addition of fat, though other ingredients like eggs of course do contain some fat.

But a less tight Yorkshire baker can still be a bit more more adventurous by adding a good slug of whisky, even though that might be against the ethos of most Yorkshire folk!

A true Yorkshireman will always maintain his habit of eating any fruit cake with a slice of cheese.

This recipe has really no business being as impressive as it is to eat, but that’s Yorkshire for you. Who said it’s grim up North? Not me!

For any of you wanting to try something a little different this summer, I will be working at East Riddlesden Hall on Yorkshire Day. I will be at the attraction’s Great Barn, holding Lammas bread-making workshops throughout the day on Wednesday August 1.

Yorkshire Barm Brack cake recipe  2lb loaf cake   300ml / half pint boiling water from the kettle 4 Yorkshire tea bags or preference  275g / 10oz plain four. sifted  2 teaspoons baking powder 2 teaspoons mixed spices   150g / 5oz  caster sugar 110g / 4oz dark brown sugar 350g / 12oz mixed dried fruits 1 egg, lightly beaten Good slug of whisky, brandy or rum (optional within Yorkshire)  Zest and juices from a small lemon, optional  Method  1. Pop the kettle on and carefully measure out the boiling water into a large bowl.

2. Place 4 Yorkshire tea bags into the boiling water and allow to steep for 5 minutes stirring occasionally, then discard the tea bags and peg out on the washing line.

3. Stir in the caster and brown sugars, lemon zest and juices with the alcohol of choice, then cover with cling film and set aside to soak overnight at room temperature.  4. When you're ready to bake your cake, butter and parchment line a 2lb loaf tin.  5. Preheat the oven to 160C / Gas Mark 3.

6. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder and mixed spices.  7. Drain the liquid from the plumped fruits and combine well with the beaten egg and flour with a wooden spoon.  8. Slowly stir in the fruits, taking care not to over mix as the mixture will be fairly wet.  9. Spoon out the mixture into the prepared 2lb loaf tin.

10. Bake your cake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes till well risen and firm or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out cleanly.

11. Allow to cool fully in the tin before carefully removing.

12. Serve up with lashings of best butter, a big wedge of Wensleydale cheese and a brew of Yorkshire tea!

13. Store in an airtight container for a week or so.