AS THE name suggests ‘’toss in cake’’ is a grandma kind of cake!

This recipe was kindly passed onto me from Judy Williamson whose grandma passed it to her with the recipe handed down through the family for at least four generations.

This is what I call a heritage recipe - our links with the past, dedicated to the preservation of family memories from a special person.

This ‘’toss in cake’’ recipe is now included in the Silsden’s Favourite Recipes Past And Present recipe boo, which will go on sale to coincide with my baking demonstration on October 28 at Silsden Town Hall.

Tickets can be bought from Twiggs newsagents in Silsden and through the Friends of Silsden Town Hall.

Judy says this is a foolproof light fruit cake and she’s right, its lovely!

Fruit cake pops up every Christmastime, people bring them as gifts, make a joke of them and sometimes even eat them.

But let’s be honest: do people really eat ‘’heavy’’ fruit cakes today?

It has a shaky relationship, except at Christmastime eaten with a wedge of cheese or sliced up at a wedding reception wrapped in a paper napkin..

It’s probably been 30 years since I last baked a fruit cake: I tend to buy a slab at Christmas as the wife doesn’t like the heavy fruit texture within the cake.

Working in retail over the years, I’ve seen fruit cake sadly in decline at Christmastime and the German Stollens, which hit our high streets over a decade ago through the invasion of the German supermarkets, are now outselling good old English Christmas cakes.

They are lighter in texture but having all that a English fruit cake has, like the mixed fruits, nuts, spices, marzipan and alcohol flavoured by brandy or rum, appealing to most fussy eaters and especially us men.

But let’s be honest, when Christmas is over and you’ve taken down the tinsel, thrown out the tree and recycled the cards, you always have a lump of fruit cake left to prop open the door or anchor down the boat if your mother-in-law baked it for you.

Fruit cake gets around – the history goes way back to ancient Rome, the Germans as I mentioned call it Stollen, the Scots call it Dundee, Italy have Pannetonne and the Caribbeans soak it in rum for months.

I was intrigued to read that fruit cake tossing has become a very popular sport.

Anyone up for it? Top field at Marley? Watch this space! 

Grandma’s Williamson’s ‘’toss in cake’’ recipe

Toss-in order 

8oz/225g self-raising flour, sifted

4oz/110g caster sugar 

12oz/350g mixed dried fruits

2 medium eggs, not beaten 

4oz/110g melted margarine or butter 

1 teaspoon mixed spice 

Quarter teaspoon of ground nutmeg 

Pinch salt 

3-4 drops vanilla essence 

1oz/25g ground almonds 

6 fluid oz/170ml milk 


1. Preheat the oven to 150c/Gas Mark 2. 

2. Prepare a greased and parchment-lined six-inch baking tin or similar container.

3. In the order shown above in the Ingredients list, put all (or ‘toss’) the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, but for the moment, keep back the milk.

4. Beat the ingredients together by hand using a wooden spoon, adding a little milk at a time until a dropping consistency is formed (you may not need the full amount of milk).

5. Turn the mixture into the prepared cake tin. 

6. For a crunchy topping, sprinkle over mixture with a little demerara sugar. 

7. Bake in a slow oven for around two hours.

8. Check if baked by piercing in the middle of the cake with a skewer, which should always come out clean. 

9. Once baked, allow to settle in the tin before turning out onto a cooling wire. 

* This is a lovely, foolproof, light fruit cake, which Mrs Williamson uses for Christmas, birthdays and anytime. She increases the ingredients and baking time for a larger cake, icing it with ready-rolled icing making a good ‘’occasion’’ cake. It will be guaranteed to be eaten, being light-textured and a treasured family recipe.


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