Cider Crumble Cake by Marguerite Patten

Marguerite Patten's Cider Crumble Cake


Treacle, dates, cider and walnuts are a great combination, and they’re all in these incredibly lovely crumble cake by cookery doyenne Marguerite Patten OBE. The cider-binded fruit loaf is topped with a crunchy walnut and cinnamon crumble – sandwiched together with a thick layer of plum jam. As Marguerite explained, it’s all in the texture. Read on for her top baking tips…

  • To make: 15 minutes
  • To cook: 50 minutes
  • Serves: 8-10


  • 1lb 2oz/525g self raising flour
  • 4oz/100g moist brown sugar
  • 2½ oz (65g) dates
  • 3 tablespoons black treacle
  • ½ pint cider
  • 2 eggs

For the topping:

  • 1½oz/40g caster sugar
  • 1½oz/40g plain or self-raising flour
  • 1½oz/40g butter
  • 1½oz/40g walnuts
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons apricot or plum jam


  1. Sieve the flour and add the sugar and chopped dates
  2. Heat the treacle and cider until the treacle has melted, then stir into the flour mixture
  3. Lastly, add the eggs and mix thoroughly
  4. Line a 9-inch/23-cm square cake tin with greased paper, and pour in the mixture
  5. Bake in the centre of a very moderate oven, 325ºF/170ºC, Gas Mark 3 for 30 minutes
  6. Meanwhile prepare the topping, mix the sugar and flour, rub in the butter, add the chopped walnuts and cinnamon
  7. Bring the cake from the oven, spread with jam and press the crumble over the top. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes
  8. As one cannot press this cake to see if it’s firm to the touch, test to see if it’s cooked by inserting a fine wooden cocktail stick – if it comes out clean the cake is cooked
  9. Cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then turn out carefully

To serve:

Although the cake itself has no fat in it, it is better if matured for 2 days before cutting. I switched a square tin for a rectangular one (see tin size tip below) which seemed to work well within the suggested baking time.

 Marguerite Patten’s top baking tips

  1. Baking is an exact science and you cannot add small amounts of extra ingredients without affecting the recipe
  2. Check the size of the tin given in the recipe. If you use a smaller one, your baking time will be longer due to the depth of the mixture. If you use a larger tin then the baking time will be shorter because you have a more shallow mixture
  3. If adding baking powder or bicarbonate of soda or any other raising agent, the spoon should be level only, unless stated to the contrary
  4. The total baking time does not mean you don’t check during the process. With cakes it’s important to open the door very gently to look inside. With pastry you can open the oven and check more easily
  5. If a recipe suggests you let the cake cool in the tin for a short time before turning it out, follow this advice as the cake could break if you turn it out too early




Marguerite signs her book 'Cooking for the family in colour' - home to the mouth-watering cider crumble cake

Published in: on April 25, 2010 at 7:53 am  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Mmmm this cake looks delicous. Going to put this in my favourites to share with our members…
    THANKS for the tips Marguerite – passing those on too…

  2. I am celebrating my Golden Wedding anniversary this August and I have been using your recipes for all of those years from one of your recipe books which my mother bought me. So thank you for helping me to be a good cook

  3. This looks fantastic…. thank you… but I don’t like dates.

    Could you leave them out ? or maybe use dark cherries or apple instead?…any ideas?

    I know you shouldn’t fiddle about with these things but thats just what I’m like

  4. I will definitely be giving this a try. Had the pleasure of interviewing Marguerite Pattern for a feature I was writing. Very gracious lady.

  5. Yummy! Not sure what other word to use to describe the look and sound of this. Thanks for sharing.

  6. There’s a cider cake in one of the Stork Cookery Service booklets I have – but nothing like this rich, yummy-sounding recipe!
    I heard Marguerite chatting to Chris Evans on his Radio 2 Breakfast Show last month in his 3 minute Surprise Guest slot – I’d no idea she was still with us! She was so vibrant and ‘with it’, even asking about Chris’s son, Noah. It was Marguerite’s birthday.

  7. sounds great, a fat free cake that improves for keeping a couple of days!

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