The Secret To Great Cake

06 . 03 . 16

​It’d be fair to say that we’re fans of a proper tea break here at Otter Surfboards; downing tools for ten minutes a couple of times during the day and drawing breath over a cup of tea and, if we’re lucky, a slice of cake. And we think that we’ve found our favourite cake.

It turns out that the key to a really, really, good fruitcake is to leave it in the eaves of your wooden A-Frame cabin on the Isle of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland, for a couple of winters. That’s what our friend Tony’s mum does with her fruitcake, and it works. Tony’s a good friend of ours, and over the past fortnight he’s been joining us for a few days each week to build his own wooden surfboard; we’ll share more of his story in a few months time, when he’s finished his board and we’ve caught a few waves with him. Until then though, we thought we’d share the recipe for the amazing cake that’s been fuelling our days in the workshop recently:

Tony’s Mum’s Fruitcake


– 225 grams unsalted butter

– 210 grams light brown sugar

– 260 grams flour

– 75 grams ground almonds

– 1 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 3 large eggs

– 3 tablespoons alcohol – whiskey if you’re in the highlands and islands

– Zest of one lemon

– Zest and juice of one orange

– 1kg dried and candied fruit


– Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celcius

– Grease and line a 20cm baking tin

– Mix together flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt

– In a separate bowl place the dried and candied fruit, and add 3-4 tablespoons of the flour mix, stirring so that the fruit is well coated.

– In another bowl beat the butter until creamy.

– Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.

– Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each egg.

– Mix in the alcohol, zest and orange juice.

– Beat or fold in the dried fruit mix.

– Beat or fold in the flour mix.

– Spoon into the baking tin.

– Bake for 1 hour

– Reduce the temperature of the oven to 150 degrees Celcius, and bake for another 90 minutes until a skewer poked into it comes out clean.

– Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

– Poke holes in the top of the cake with a skewer, and brush with more alcohol.

– Wrap your cake well (cling-film or greaseproof paper and foil), place in a tin, and place somewhere cool or cold, and dry, such as under the eaves of your A-frame cabin.

– Brush the cake once a week or so for the next few weeks.

– Preferably leave in your chosen cold spot for a winter or two. It seemed to work for Tony’s mum’s cake. We might have to start ordering them a long way in advance!

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