Malted cakes always seem to feature amongst Fathers’ Day collections on food or cooking blogs, and it always baffles me as to why. Do men not have the same tastes as women and children? Would they not also enjoy a vanilla or chocolate cake? My own father certainly had a sweet tooth. Towards the end of his life he was taking a lot of medication to keep up his strength and fight off nausea and lord knows what else. Some of the pills that he took in the morning were apparently best taken with food, so every day he used to send me off to get him a chocolate bar or bakery treat to have with his medication – “Doctor’s orders”, he would insist, as he scoffed his treat.
To say cancer is unpleasant is obviously an extreme understatement. It’s very painful to watch someone you love fade away. But it’s inspiring when someone faces it with courage and maintains a sense of self and dignity (not to mention humour) for as long as physically possible, and this little habit of my father’s always brings a smile to my face when I remember it.
In my family, this cherry cake would be the ultimate Father’s Day treat – my dad’s favourite, and one my mum baked for him frequently throughout my childhood. Give your dad some manner of a treat this weekend, I’m sure he deserves it.
225g self-raising flour
100-175g glace cherries, washed, dried and quartered
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
5-6 tbsp milk
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 700g loaf tin and base line it with greased baking paper.
2. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Stir in the cherries and sugar – adding the cherries at this stage should give them a good floury coating which prevents them from sinking.
4. Make a well in the centre and pour in the egg, vanilla and milk.
5. Gradually work in the dry ingredients, adding more milk if necessary, until it makes a nice batter.
6. Pour into the prepared tin, level the top and bake for about 1 1/4 hours until risen. (Smaller loaves need about 40 minutes.)
7. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out to cool properly on a wire rack.