Derwentwater Cakes, Cumbria
The sort of thing you’d hope to find in the very wonderful Bryson’s in Keswick : simple ingredients beautifully baked, transformed into something sustaining and delightful.
Derwentwater cakes could be described as a variant on the Chorley Cake, itself often regarded as a country cousin of the Eccles cake : there is indeed a vibrant (and living) history of sweet baking in Lancashire and Cumbria.
This is another currant cake, to each measure of fruit two of flour, one of sugar and another of butter being required. The paste is enriched with eggs (two would be needed were a quarter of a pound of currants your starting point), separated, whites and yolks vigorously beaten apart then incorporated as gently as possible in the dough the stiffened whites will lighten. Small rounds of the flattened paste are baked in a lower oven than most such confections, say 150 centigrade, and only for about 20 minutes or until they smell and feel done - on no account should they be allowed to begin to blacken.
Taken as part of a lakeside tea, eaten on the water off Portinscale, or stashed in the backpack for a hike through Borrowdale , the Derwentwater Cake is a reflection of the area it is named for: honest, in no need of tarting up, pleasing.