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Cornish Heva (Hevva or Heavy) Cake

Once the shoal is seen 'Heva' is called out from the top of the cliff by the 'Huers' - there's still an ancient Huers' Hut at Newquay - and the bakers would set to work to have a warm and delicious cake, made from readily available ingredients, ready by the time the catch was landed.


8oz self-raising flour
3oz butter
2oz lard
3oz granulated sugar
Half a teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
6oz currants
4oz candied lemon peel


Rub fats into flour until resembling breadcrumbs
Mix in all other ingredients (a little milk might be needed to make a stiff dough)
Roll out to about a half inch thickness
Place on a greased, floured baking tray* make a 'lattice' of shallow diagonal knife cuts, and sprinkle top with sugar.
Bake at 180C/350F/gas mark 5 for about 30 minutes ( I usually find it needs less so check at around 25 minutes as ovens can vary such a lot.)
*I've found a 9''x6''x3/4" (23x15x2cm) to be just about the perfect size.
For vegetarian version use 5oz butter and no lard; for vegans use 5oz margarine and, if needed, soya milk; try 100% wholemeal self-raising flour - you'll almost certainly need extra milk as wholemeal takes up more liquid; omit the lemon peel altogether or use chopped glace cherries or ginger instead; choc chips are possible too but I've not tried that.