Handsome Chester Cake

Last weekend we got a taxi home from Cork city and after my few glasses of Sticks pinot noir ( really a nice wine) I was hanging over the passenger seat quizzing the taxi driver on his favourite food. What does he love to eat? I just had to know. Anyway he told us that his friend regularly gives him two rabbits and he ‘sticks ’em in a stew and bubbles ’em away with a few carrots and onions and two hours later tis handsome‘.

Now I just can NOT stop saying that everything is handsome. Your new baby girl is handsome. That wedding dress is pure handsome on you. A cup of tea: Handsome.

But little did I know that late night heart to heart with Joe le Taxi supplied me with the perfect adjective to describe Chester cake. A huge slab of highly spiced cake studded with plump sultanas, encased in buttery pastry and lovingly drenched in thick white icing. The cake of my childhood. So filling, so comforting. Handsome.

Chester Cake

12ozs stale good quality bread (I used a brown sandwich loaf and left the crusts on)
8ozs sultanas
8ozs brown sugar
2 tablespoon mixed spice ( I used Green Saffrons mix, unbelieveble stuff)
2 eggs
3ozs plain flour
2ozs butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 pint
2 tablespoons marmalade

1lb shortcrust pastry

    1. Cover the stale bread with cold tea( I made a pot using 2 normal teabags and 1 chai teabag) and leave to soak for an hour. Squeeze dry by pressing mixture in a sieve over the sink.
    2. Sift the flour with the baking powder, add the sugar, then rub in the butter add spice mix.
    3. Add sultanas to well squeezed bread and mix well, turn into flour mixture and mix together well.
    4. Add the well beaten egg in the milk and stir, then add the marmalade and leave aside
    5. Roll out one portion of pastry to fit a baking tin(10,12,2) grease well, make sure to prick pastry with fork evenly on top and bottom.

6. Spread mixture evenly over pastry.

7. Cover with second portion of pastry.

      8. Pinch the side together to seal it. prick the top with a fork.

9. Bake in oven @ 180 for 1 hour 45 mins.

10. Leave cake in tin to cool. Then ice with thick water icing and cut into slices once set.

This recipe really does make a massive amount of cake but it does freeze well!

Lilly x

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22 Responses to Handsome Chester Cake

  1. mise says:

    What a handsome lead-in to that recipe. I fear the word may be contagious. I don’t suppose it has any calories?

  2. Maeve says:

    Mmmm, I would really like some cake now. “Handsome” must be a real Cork thing, I’ve a friend who enjoys a “handsome yogurt” in the evenings… Lilly, I love your blog and Fancy Vittles! Always makes me want to cook pretty things!

  3. Mise: I think it is contagious! Calorie wise I think it accounts for 23% of your daily adjective intake.
    Maeve: That’s great, I can’t wait to see all the stuff you post about too! No pressure!x

  4. Catherine says:

    Hi Lily – I found my way to your blog via Mise’s – I’ll follow it as it speaks to me with the cakes, the crafts and the profile – like me a hundred years ago! Anyway – drop by my blog, I’m only across the county border and you might like to follow it. I have some of my favourite cake recipes on it, and some jammy ones too. (I also have a Facebook Cakes, Bakes and Tasty Treats Group with more of the same!)

  5. Catherine says:

    Sorry Lilly – misspelt your name – too tired on Friday evening to pay attention to detail – that’s what a week’s work does to me!

  6. sissie says:

    Oh, I am so hungry now. My mouth is watering.

    Thanks for visiting my blog today and leaving a nice comment. I love it when you do.


  7. Ma Larkin says:

    I am slavering over the keyboard!

  8. KarenG says:

    Hi Lilly!

    Visiting from Jayne’s neighborhood. What a charming blog you have. I’ve come to stay. Even though I have a feeling you won’t be good for my diet 🙂


  9. jaboopee says:

    my very best friend is from cork and she says handsome everytime she sees me….but not necessarily about me …she also says langer and uses the word pants to describe outer wear i.e trousers when in fact everyone else in the country and the world for that matter use it to describe underwear…i ‘ve told her that that description is going to get her into trouble sometime….she said she can’t wait.

  10. hey lilly…..dying for a slice of this, if you could wing a piece out of the freezer and this way please! and perfect pastry action too after you saying it wasnt your forte! oh and keep on buying the farmers journal, rock on! xx

  11. Jayne says:

    I love that adjective! It says so much about the character without even seeing Joe le Taxi. (And who’d have thought she’d end up with Johnny Depp eh?) I also have cup and saucer envy… I have recently started collecting (by that, I have two) pretty little china cups, in the hope that one day it will lead to a pretty little kitchen cupboard, which means there must be a pretty kitchen in a pretty house. Since I have none of that at the moment I am starting with the cups. I also love the sound of that cake… tis well handsome!

  12. Aden Meyler says:

    I’ve never heard of Chester cake, but it sounds wonderful. I just love your new banner and am very inspired, too. I made a beautiful cake for my hubby’s birthday last week. It looked beautiful but tasted yucky! Won’t make that mistake again! I just have to figure out what the mistake was.

  13. Amanda says:

    I just love your descriptions Lilly! I think I even have the accent down handsomely, and the cake sounds and looks fantastic. Happy Monday! xx

  14. Catherine, Karen G and Amanda welcome! It’s great to see new people visiting!x
    Jaboopee: I always say pants! I thought it was an Irish thing! Your friend is right to keep saying it!
    Jayne: It all starts with pretty tea cups so beware! Just make sure you use them because they’re no use to no body sittin’ on a shelf!
    Aden: I followed a recipe for brownies last week and they were a complete disaster.Some recipes just aren’t tested properly, at least thats my excuse! x

  15. Adrian says:

    savage – my nan used to make this; gonna try it this weekend.

  16. Adrian, Welcome! I hope you do try it. I’m going to be saying savage now all day!

  17. Adrian says:

    thanks Lilly. keep up the good work…

  18. Anonymous says:

    I grew up and went to school in Chester (Ancient Roman city,birthplace of Constantine) I
    along with other school chums ran through the town to Quaintways at the Chester Cross to save the twopence of Bus Fare, for a slice of Chester Cake.It was Originally made for the Alms Houses,and the ‘Navies’ making the Railway and digging the canals.My Father was Irish and it came from the Irish for Gur.It keeps very well,and is very filling.Thanks!

  19. hi lilly can you tell me please what the eggs and marmalade are for is it to seal pastry do i put marmlade in with eggs and milk thanking you for reply esther says:

    Trying this to day

    • Lilly Higgins says:

      Hi Esther, Sorry only seeing this now! You must add the marmalade & egg in with the milk! I hope you did that and it worked out well. This is a very old post but the complete recipe is in my first book Make Bake Love. Thanks!x

  20. Sile says:

    Hi Lily, could I make the Chester cake without the pastry? I’ve tried and failed many times to make pastry, it’s either too dry or too wet and never tasty.

    • Lilly Higgins says:

      Hi Sile,
      I’ve never made it without the pastry, I’d imagine it would be like some sort of pudding and you’d have to spoon it out of the dish! My best advice would be buy a good quality pastry and use that! It will be worth it!x

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