When I was growing up, we always used to have something a bit special to eat on a Sunday tea time, in the proper English fashion. There would be crumpets with golden syrup, or a delicious Victoria sponge or maybe some of my mum’s renowned coffee cake. One of my favourite teatime treats, on weekends when my mum wasn’t in the mood for baking, was lovely chewy Soreen Malt Loaf… I’m sure that I wouldn’t be averse to a slice still, but these days I prefer to make my own. I’ve been using this recipe for years – it comes from my bashed-about copy of the Good Housekeeping Complete Book of Vegetarian Cookery – the first recipe book I ever bought for myself.
I’ve tweaked it a bit to make it a bit more user-friendly and to include more dried fruit, and I’ve also taken to using Freedom syrup rather than the golden syrup specified by the recipe. It tastes just as good, but I feel better about there being slightly less calories in this version. Another great thing about this cake is that it doesn’t contain eggs or fat, and could be made entirely dairy-free if you used a dairy-free substitute for the milk.
If you decide to have a go at this recipe, bear in mind that it’s best left a day or so before eating, because it develops its sticky chewiness with a bit of keeping.
Sticky Malt Loaf
- 30g soft dark brown sugar
- 50g golden syrup or Freedom syrup
- 50g malt extract (the syrupy liquid kind)
- 150ml milk
- 225g self-raising wholemeal flour, or white flour if you prefer
- a pinch of salt
- 80g sultanas
- 60g raisins
- 60g currants
- Line a 1lb loaf tin with baking parchment (just for absolute clarity that’s a tin measuring around 25cm long x11cm wide)
- Preheat your oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3.
- Put the sugar, syrup, malt extract & milk in a small saucepan and heat gently until the the syrup & sugar have melted. Occasionally, when I’ve stopped concentrating & let this get too hot, the milk has curdled – it looks rather unpleasant, but doesn’t seem to affect the finished cake!
- Whilst you are warming the liquid ingredients, weigh all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix very thoroughly. You need a soft dropping consistency – if the mixture looks a bit stiff and dry then add a little more milk, just a tablespoon full at a time.
- Transfer the mixture to your prepared baking tin and bake in the oven for between 45 minutes & 1 hour. In my fan oven it takes only 45.
- When the cake is nicely golden brown on top and feels springy to the touch, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Once completely cool, wrap in foil and/or greaseproof paper and, if you can, wait at least a day before eating.
This is very good served plain, but absolutely delicious with some lovely creamy butter. Oh dear – that rather stops it being fat-free doesn’t it!