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Newark Show “Cut and Butter” Cake

It is told that the illustrious, and slightly scary sounding, Nottinghamshire Women’s Institute Catering Committee devised this fruit loaf for the Notts County Show held at the Newark Showground every May. I don’t have any dates for this recipe, it appears in Angela Greary’s 1994 local recipes book and follows a similar fruitcake recipe from Southwell, dated 1890.

However, it is clearly a very traditional and, indeed, a very simple recipe. Given the array of food choices and exotic street food that characterise so many shows and festivals nowadays (not that I am complaining, you understand ūüėä) ¬†it is nice to think that such a simple and traditional tea loaf was the talk of the show. Apparently it was sold in the refreshment tent, sliced and buttered (hence the name) and was always a popular choice. This recipe (in post-Brexit Imperial measures, I’m afraid) ¬†makes two solid loaves or cakes (put one in the freezer or store in an airtight tin).



 1 and a half lbs mixed dried fruit, 3/4 pint hot tea (or boiling water), 4oz of butter (or margarine), 80z soft brown sugar, 1 egg, 1lb self-raising flour.


Place the fruit, butter and sugar into a bowl. Pour on the hot tea and leave to stand overnight (or for around 8 hrs).


The next morning, beat the egg and add to the mixture. Seive in the flour and a pinch of salt. Mix well.

Bake in two buttered (and lined) loaf or cake tins at 180C for approximatly an hour.

The original recipe suggests bake for an hour and a half but I took mine out at about 1hr 10mins as they were catching. I also used butter rather than margarine which was in the original.


This is a simple local cake, with a traditional flavour, my mum, who is 80, loved it with cheese, so maybe it is a “cut and butter, with cheese cake”. Give it a go!


  1. If you had a “Like Very Much” button I’d use it as this is one of my favourite cakes. One of the ladies on the farm makes it on special occasions.

    My mum used to make one very much like this using grape nuts – I think she got the recipe from the side of a cereal packet. I used to make it in the 80s but lost the habit then lost the recipe. I must see if my sister has the recipe as she now has mum’s recipes.

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