cakeMarion Symonds has been running Portreath Bakery for 26 years so she’s done a fair bit of baking in her time. Plans to open her own bakery school and trips around the world in the name of research are keeping her on her toes this year. But she stopped to have a chat with us and give us this wonderful recipe for Cornish heavy cake – it’s exact process however, remains a mystery.  “If anyone got hold of it, all the bakeries would be selling it,” she explains.

Ingredients: (makes 1 thin cake)

175g plain flour

1/4tsp fine salt

1-2tsp ground ginger, cinnamon or mace, or a combination, to taste (optional)

40g granulated sugar

40g each of unsalted butter and lard (or 80g butter, if you prefer)

75g currants

25-50g chopped mixed peel (optional)

About 2tbsp milk or water


1) Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

2) Mix the flour, salt, spices (if using) and sugar together. Rub in the fat until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the other ingredients, including just enough milk or water to make a stiff dough.

3) On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1cm thick and in a rough oval shape. Carefully lift on to the baking sheet. Make a criss-cross pattern on the top with a sharp knife.

3) Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes, until golden (it won’t rise very much). Serve warm, or allow to cool then store in an airtight container.

You can cut a few corners in the kitchen with Marion’s saffron heavy cake mix available at