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Boiley cake

A sublime and soothing North of England specialty from Sheila Gill: Boiling the batter before adding the flour gives the cake an intriguing and lovely texture.

Cake Pans- 1 cup cold water

- 1 cup sugar

- 1 cup raisins

- 1½ cups margarine

- 2 cups self-raising flour

- 1 egg, beaten

- ½ teaspoon baking soda

- 1 teaspoon mixed spice (see the notes)

Preheat the oven to 350°

  1. Boil water, sugar, raisins, margarine and mixed spice together for 3 minutes. Let the mixture cool.
  2. Add the flour and mix well.
  3. Mix the egg into the batter, followed by the baking soda.
  4. Grease a loaf pan, line it with parchment paper and bake the cake for 1½ hours.


- ‘Mixed spice’ is not easy to find in the United States. In Britain, it is a widely available blend of baking spices that may include allspice, cinnamon, ginger, mace, nutmeg and other spices in various proportion and combination. Feel free to concoct your own if a commercial blend is unavailable; pick, choose and use what you like and you cannot go wrong.

- Do not be tempted to go all artisanal and substitute butter for the margarine. Margarine has higher melting and burning points and therefore is more suitable for this recipe. You could throw caution to the proverbial winds, however, and use... lard.