Cornish hevva or heavy cake is a traditional teatime treat of the pilchard fishing communities of Cornwall. The name comes from the fishing huer – someone who stood watching for pilchards on the clifftops – shouting ‘hevva, hevva’ at the landing of a shoal of fish. This then signalled to the fishermens wives to return home and start baking, the Cornish hevva was a particular favourite of the time.
The cake is similar to a welsh cake, but the Cornish hevva is scored with lines to replicate the look of a fishing net which would be baked to celebrate the pilchard catch. The cake does not require eggs and traditionally uses lard to make it dense in texture, however butter can be as a replacement if preferred.
What you need
200g plain flour
100g butter or lard
100g currants or raisins
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
How you do it
Preheat your oven to 170°C and grease a large baking tray. Sift the plain flour, salt, ginger and cinnamon into a large bowl, then add the sugar.
Add the butter or lard and rub the mixture together until it resembles a fine breadcrumb texture. Mix in the currants and milk and then mix well until a dough forms.
Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and roll out to the shape of your tray and until it’s about 1cm thick. Place onto the baking tray and score the top of the cake with a knife to make it look like the lines of a fishing net.
Bake the Cornish hevva cake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown, enjoy warm with a sprinkling of sugar on top.
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