Hufsie Cake, a Fruity Shetland Bake

Hufsie-4824

Hufsie cake.

After devouring a Hufsie cake in my first week in Shetland it immediately won my ‘this is what I’m going to bake and blog from Shetland’, especially after munching though buttered slices of it at the Sunday Teas too.

Hufsie cake is a light fruit cake that’s usually baked as a tea loaf. The batter is spiced and uses the boiling technique which turns it marvellously treacly. 

I asked around across the islands, discovering the cake originates from Whalsay. Generously, I was given a number of different recipes – including a chocolate one – and when I got back down to Yorkshire I had a go at making them.

It turned out to be somewhat of a challenge: a 2 lb loaf cake and an indignant Aga oven. I can’t tell you how many I either burnt or had sink on me! I couldn’t get the roasting oven cool enough and the simmering oven was too cool, they wouldn’t rise.

Eventually, after quite some frustration, I decided it was war: I was not going to let the Aga beat me!

The solution I settled on was to leave the oven door open while I finished off the batter, this combined with the cold shelf just about did the trick, staying around 175ºC for the forty-five minute baking time (160ºC would have been better though).

The technique for making this Hufsie cake was kind of new to me: boiling the ingredients before baking. I’ve used it for gingerbread but that’s more melting than boiling.

This cake gets better a day or two after baking if you store it in an airtight container. We took one loaf to Ireland with us and when I made a wee picnic to walk along the Northern Ireland coast to visit the Giant’s Causeway I used a slices of it in place of bread after discovering we had none.

Chunky sliced Lancashire cheese sandwiched between thickly buttered Hufsie cake, a creative lunch that turned out to be an absolute win!

You’ve got to try it: a cake cheese sandwich!

Hufsie

HufsieThis recipe is a culmination of the recipes I was given. I’ve made it with both white sugar and light brown muscovado sugar, the latter of which gave a much darker, richer loaf.

Hufsie Cake.

Preheat the oven to 160º C and line a 2 lb loaf tin.

  • 200 g dried fruit (I used raisins)
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 150 g granulated sugar or light muscovado sugar
  • 200 ml water
  • 2 tsp mixed spice or ground cinnamon
  • 2 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 225 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Place the dried fruit, butter, sugar, water and spice into a large pan and gently bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer on a medium heat, with quite a fast roll, for around 10 to 12 minutes until the mixture turns syrupy and coats the back of the spoon.

Take off the heat and allow to cool: the mixture will thicken further on cooling.

Add the eggs to the cooled batter and beat well.

Combine the flour with the baking powder and bicarb and sift into the batter. Fold the flour in without over beating it.

Transfer to a lined 2 lb loaf tin and bake for around 45 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in the tin. It is even better if left a day before cutting and butter those delicious slices.

Hufsie

Hufsie Cake
A traditional bake from Shetland, a fruity loaf that is delicious buttered.
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Ingredients
  1. 200 g dried fruit (I used raisins)
  2. 100 g unsalted butter
  3. 150 g granulated sugar or light muscovado sugar
  4. 200 ml water
  5. 2 tsp mixed spice or ground cinnamon
  6. 2 free-range eggs, beaten
  7. 225 g plain flour
  8. 2 tsp baking powder
  9. 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160º C and line a 2lb loaf tin.
  2. Place the dried fruit, butter, sugar, water and spice into a large pan and gently bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer on a medium heat, with quite a fast roll, for around 10 to 12 minutes until the mixture turns syrupy and coats the back of the spoon.
  3. Take off the heat and allow to cool: the mixture will thicken further on cooling.
  4. Add the eggs to the cooled batter and beat well.
  5. Combine the flour with the baking powder and bicarb and sift into the batter. Fold the flour in without over beating it.
  6. Transfer to a lined 2lb loaf tin and bake for around 45 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the tin.
Notes
  1. It is even better if you leave it a day or two before serving.
  2. Light muscovado sugar gives a darker, richer loaf.
Vagabond Baker http://vagabondbaker.com/
Hufsie(You won’t believe how ‘midged’ I got photographing this cake! The light was beautiful but the air was thick with the tiny biters!)

Do you fancy a cake sandwich? Ever tried Hufsie?

Pin it for later:Hufsie Cake, a Shetland speciality.
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Midsummer in Shetland: Diary for week 2. Bonxies, puffins and Britain’s rarest flower!

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Girdle Scones and the Isle of Skye. The island of eagles, that’s how I’ll remember Skye.

By Rachel A Davis   Follow on Bloglovin

4 Responses

  1. I’m so glad somebody else appreciates cheese with fruit cake – all of my friends down south laugh at me when I do it, it’s definitely a Yorkshire thing 😉 Been trying to figure out whether this is the same recipe as a boiled cake or slightly different, do you know?
    thegrownupgapyear recently posted…Truck Festival: My first festivalMy Profile

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Yay, cheese and cake, Yorkshire delicious! Yes, I think it’s pretty similar to boiled cake, although I’ve never made boiled cake other than hufsie!

  2. What a great name for a cake Rach! I’ve never heard of a Hufsie cake before but the concept of using it in place of bread and putting cheese in the middle is perhaps a stroke of genius!
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) recently posted…A Slice of Seychelles Luxury at Constance Lemuria ResortMy Profile

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Thanks Shikha! I saw the name on the label in the roadside cabinet on the loaf cake and knew I had to try it, such a great name! It immediately tickled my curiosity!
      I can’t entirely take the cake/cheese sandwich credit: in Yorkshire it’s very common to serve fruit cake with cheese, like a thick wedge of Wensleydale. I just made that portable!

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