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Yorkshire Coble Cake


Professional baker, Mike Armstrong (‘Baker Mike’), who writes a regular baking column for the Keighley News, has researched the origins of the Yorkshire  Coble Cake, still found in tearooms in the Staithes and Whitby coastal areas of Yorkshire.   Mike writes:

The cake is named after the traditional fishing boats used locally, with the coble being a type of open boat. The coble boat was developed on the north-east coast of England and had a distinctive shape, being flat-bottomed and high bowed to cope with the conditions prevalent in the area.

Mike tried to find the original recipe, but without success:

After leafling through my entire collection of recipe books … I gave up and made my own sweet version. It’s an easy recipe … [and] I just hope have done the Coble Cake justice.

Mike’s recipe leads to a sweet and spicy sponge, and I used unsweetened apple puree to balance the flavours. The addition of a big side dollop of cream makes this an uncommon lazy-afternoon-style cake, particularly if accompanied with a pot of Yorkshire Tea. What bliss!


  • 200g/7oz butter, softened
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 200g/7oz self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • (Half) 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg, freshly grounded if possible
  • (One and a half) 1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 250ml jar of Bramley apple sauce or homemade apple puree
  • Serve with thick or whipped cream


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4 and then line and butter two 20cm/8in Victoria sandwich tins.

2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs gradually.

3. Add the milk and fold in the flour and all the spices until the batter is smooth, then spoon the batter equally into the prepared tins and level.

4. Bake for around 20 minutes or until the sponge is pulling away from the edge of the tin and has a nice golden colour.

5. Leave to cool in the tins for 20 minutes before turning out onto a cooling wire.

6. Assemble the cake by placing one cake, flat side up, on a serving plate, then spread over the apple sauce and sandwich together, dusting over a little icing sugar and serve in generous slices with whipped cream.


You can find more of Baker Mike’s recipes at Friend in Knead

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