I recently came across a recipe for Cornish Hevva cake on FrugalFeeding.com and thought that it looked delicious and also that it sounded like it had an interesting history behind it. I loved the image of the fisherman’s housewives starting to bake as soon as the lookout called that their husbands were returning home. So I made a mental note to give “the cake” a try sometime.
I made a gluten-free version which produces a sweet, crumbly biscuit. It reminded me of a very thin version of Scottish shortbread with dried fruit. It went very nicely with a glass of milk – for my first piece, which I ate before it had any time to cool – and also with a cup of tea later on.
1 1/3 c. (scant) gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated white sugar + extra for sprinkling
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
7 T. + 1 t. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
8.5 oz dried blueberries
3 T. whole milk, approximately
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a large baking sheet.
2. Whisk together flour, 1/4 c. of the sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
3. Using your hands, work butter into dry ingredients.
4. Mix in blueberries using a large spoon. Then slowly stir in milk until mixture forms a crumbly, stiff dough. (It holds together like a dough when pinched.)
5. Scrape sides of bowl and transfer the dough to the center of the greased baking sheet. Lightly pat into a disk, then roll out to just under 1/2-inch thick.
6. Using a paring knife, score the top of the dough to resemble a fishing net. Sprinkle with a little more sugar.
7. Bake cake for 25 t0 30 minutes or until there are no raw spots. (Because this is gluten-free, it doesn’t really get golden brown.)
I made a few minor changes to Nick’s recipe on Frugal Feeding
• I substituted dried blueberries for currants, because I was out of currants.
• I substituted gluten-free flour (Glutino brand gluten-free all-purpose flour) for the plain flour, because I wanted a gluten-free version.
• Nick’s directions call for rolling the dough out on a floured surface, then transferring the dough to a greased baking sheet. I just rolled it out directly on the greased baking sheet. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to mix in any more flour since I had used a substitution and wasn’t sure how that would affect the recipe.
• I sprinkled the sugar on before baking because I thought that would work fine.
• I forgot to cut the pieces on the diagonal for serving. Old habits. I’ve made a mental note to correct that next time – but the biscuits were still delicious!
• I think that American cooks can probably go ahead and use the whole 8 T. of butter that come in a stick. I weighed ingredients to convert from metric measurements and the butter measure came to 7 T. plus 1 t. For my first time making the recipe I wanted to stick to the original measures. If using 8 whole tablespoons of butter, one could probably also use a full 1 1/3 cup of flour. I’ll try that next time.
Thanks for introducing me to Hevva Cake, Nick!
Glad you enjoyed the recipe! You know you’re a trend-setter when someone makes a gluten free version :D. I’m going to do another traditional cake no one’s ever heard of soon – perhaps you could try that one too? :).
I shall have to watch for it!
How exciting, a Cornish recipe! I will have to bake this for my mum – she’s from Cornwall but moved here to Canada when she was in her early twenties. I’m sure this will take her back – looks delicious! 🙂
Thanks! The Frugal Feeding post had interesting history on the original Cornish recipe. I hope that your Mum enjoys it!
Hi, Christina. I just started following your blog. The recipes and photography both look wonderful!