Downland Rascals

We had the great pleasure of a trip to the Weald and Downland Living Museum in Singleton, Chichester this week for Wonderful Wednesdays, a series of family activity days in August. The museum is a collection of historic, would-be demolished buildings from around Kent, Sussex and Surrey. These are arranged on a 40 acre site in groups – they include a Kentish 15thC Farmstead complete with an early “ensuite” loo, a bakehouse, working horses and oxen and a real working watermill which was originally in Lurgashall. To their great excitement the girls got to mill their own flour on a hand mill, called a quern. We sampled biscuits made from the stoneground flour and what else is a baker supposed to bring back from a trip to a watermill ? Of course, stoneground flour.

Inspired by our visit I wanted to make a nice, traditional English cake but that wasn’t too fancy or complex to make and that echoed the history of the buildings we had seen. The “turf cake” dates back to Elizabethan times, where they were made over the embers of a turf fire. This seemed perfect. They really are so very easy so make and are in the oven in 15 minutes.. I’ve christened this recipe after their Yorkshire cousins (Fat Rascals) as The Downland Rascal. I also had to share a close up of my gorgeous Mason Cash "In the Forest" mixing bowl...


225g self raising flour

225g Lurgashall stoneground flour

1 tbsp baking powder

200g butter

125g caster sugar

200g mixed dried fruit (including flame raisins, golden sultanas and any other nice fruit you can find)

100g glace cherries – reserve 10 for decoration

Zest of 1 orange

2 eggs

2 tbsp milk

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp mixed spice

Candied orange slices (Lidl have them sporadically if you can find them) – reserve for decoration

- Preheat the oven to 200/6 and line a tray with baking paper

- Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and spice together and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs/ Stir in the fruit, orange zest and mix well

- Mix together the milk, honey and egg and stir into the dry mixture until it all sticks together in a dough. You don’t want it too wet.

- Divide the dough into 10 goodish balls and put on the baking tray. Give them some space to spread out, cut the cherries and orange slices into halves and use them to put on the top. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake for around 15 minutes until golden brown.

Serve them with a liberal amount of honey and butter while still warm from the oven and a nice cup of tea.

Weald and downland museum

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Bloom Patisserie, 12 The Dene, Hastings, TN35 4PD   

07845 592633

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