Yorkshire Recipes


Sly Cake

‘Baker Mike’ (Mike Armstrong) writes a regular baking column for the Keighley News.  Here’s one of his articles for Sly Cake. Mike writes:

“Sly cake goes deep back into are Yorkshire baking heritage and can have variations of filling around the West Riding, such as dates, figs and walnuts. Traditionally dark squashy dried fruits were used like currant and sultanas being sweetened with sugar and butter and baked in an old dinner plate. The word Sly suggests it comes from nothing in it, a secret, a cunning sense of crafty Yorkshire ego. Bet you’re curious about the word ”secret” what kind of secret is hidden? Only a true Sly fox Yorkshire baker will know that question…..”


Baker Mike



275g /10 oz plain flour
150g /5 oz butter, cold and cubed
50g /2 oz caster sugar
Pinch salt
A little cold water to make a soft dough


150g /5 oz sultanas or currants or both
200g /7 oz dried dates or figs, chopped
75g /3 oz crushed walnuts
50g /2 oz granulated sugar
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Zest and juices of a small lemon
150ml / 5fl oz water
Egg or milk to glaze

1. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, sugar and butter
2. Rub in the cold butter to resemble fine breadcrumbs and starts to stick together
3. Add a little water at a time to make a soft dough
4. Wrap the pastry in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge while you make the filling
5. Chop up the dates and walnuts into small pieces and add to a sauce pan with the sultanas and grated lemon zest and juices
6. Add to the pan the mixed spices, granulated sugar, water and cook stirring all the time until the water evaporates
7. Leave the filling to cool and firm up
8. Preheat the oven 190 c /Gas Mark 5
9. Divide the pastry into two round pieces and roll one out to fit a large dinner plate greased or similar baking dish
10. Spread the fruit flat on top, egg wash the edges and then roll out the other piece to fit the top sealing the edges with tomb and finger or fork
11. Glaze with egg or milk and bake for around 40 minutes till golden brown
12. Lightly dust with sugar and Allow to cool in the plate before slicing up and enjoying a slice with a nice cup of tea or as a pack-up sweet treat.

Source: check out Baker Mike’s column in the Keighley News: Friend in Knead

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