This is a lovely Christmas dessert that we make at the Cookery School. A very satisfying cake, full of flavour and texture: the mincemeat keeps it firmly festive, while the layer of sponge is delicate and light and the crumble topping good and crunchy.


  • 100 g (3 ½ oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 100 g (3 ½ oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanillaextract
  • 2 tblsp milk
  • 175 g (6oz) self-raising flour
  • 550 g (1lb 3oz) mincemeat (to make it yourself, see below)
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • double or regular cream, whipped, to serve
  • for the crumble topping:
  • 100 g (3 ½ oz) self-raisingflour, sifted
  • 75 g (3oz) caster sugar
  • 75 g (3oz) butter, chilled and cut into 1cm (1/2 in) cubes
  • 25 g (1oz) flaked almonds
  • 22 cm (8 ½ in) diameter spring-form or loose-bottomed cake tin with 6cm (2 ½ in) sides


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°C), Gas mark 4, and butter the sides and base of the cake tin. If you’re using a spring-form tin, make sure the base of the tin is upside down, so there’s no lip and the cake can slide off easily when cooked.
  • First make the crumble topping. Place the flour and caster sugar in a bowl, then add the butter and, using your fingertips, rub it in until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the almonds and set aside.
  • To make the sponge, first cream the butter until soft in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl with the vanilla extract and milk for a few seconds or just until mixed, then gradually add them to the creamed butter mixture, beating all the time. Sift in the flour and fold in gently to combine.
  • Tip the mixture into the prepared tin, then spoon in the mincemeat, spreading it evenly over the batter, before sprinkling over the crumble topping.
  • Place on the lowest shelf in the oven and bake for 45–50 minutes or until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out just clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool?in the tin for 20 minutes, then loosen around the edges using a small, sharp knife and remove the sides of the tin before carefully transferring the cake to a serving plate.
  • Dust the cake with lots of icing sugar, then serve warm with softly whipped cream.


At other times? of the year I like to replace the mincemeat with 300g (11oz) of raspberry jam. This cake is best served warm as a pudding, though if you have any left over it makes an excellent snack with?a cup of tea or coffee.