I have recently come across a very old cookery book, entitled Modern Cookery and it is dated 1917. It is full of wonderful old recipes and this is the first of many that I will eventually make, lots reminiscent of a bygone age. The Slab Cake is vaguely similar to heavy cake, but quite different in as much it contains eggs and a raising agent. I am sure many will recognise this cake as something their grandmothers would have made. When I saw it in the old 1917 book I could not wait to try it. I tried to put myself in their shoes and just use the ingredients they specified. I chopped the raisins, used whole milk and also used granulated sugar.
A fairly deep square or oblong tin, well buttered. Pre heat your fan oven to 170C
1¼ lb plain flour
¼ lb lard
¼ lb butter
6 oz raisins
6 oz currants
8 oz granulated sugar
1 heaped dessertspoon baking powder
½ teacup milk [this would have been whole or buttermilk]
Note: I used a cups measure but added an extra large splash as the dough was still pretty stiff.
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, lard and sugar to a very soft cream. Add the eggs and beat briskly for 5 minutes. [that is a long time!! With a modern electric mixer I did it for about half the time]. Now add the stoned chopped raisins, and the currants. Then gradually add the flour, beating until smooth. It is very stiff at this point. Mix the baking powder with the milk then stir this into the dough. Stir into your prepared square tin. I used an oblong tin 13 x 8 x 2 inches
Bake for about 45 mins. I turned the oven down after half an hour to 160C
Cool in the tin for a while then transfer to a rack. Cut into squares when cold.
[I used two racks to flip it out and over.]
Just wonderful. As I often do, I bake on a Friday morning to take to afternoon Bridge where, without exception, everyone loved it and it disappeared in seconds.