Mrs Simkins’ Virtuous Cake

Posted: December 15, 2014

One lovely cake – so many ways to make it!

Perfect for this time of year, this truly virtuous cake, with no added fat or sugar, is a real pick-me-up with a nice hot cup of Clipper tea if you are feeling a bit feeble.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Potentially Gluten-Free
The recipe is a useful one in that it is suitable for vegetarian, vegan and non-dairy diets. It also works well with gluten free flour.

Nut Allergy Note

You can make the cake with ground almonds or desiccated coconut: the 2 versions are subtly different but both good. Coconut allergies are comparatively rare so the coconut version may be suitable for some people with nut allergies but always check individual cases. If coconut is not suitable, try substituting oatmeal.

Which Tea?

The dried fruit is boiled in tea, but which lovely Clipper tea to use? I normally use Everyday Fairtrade or Earl Grey, both excellent. For the cake in the photograph, though, I used Indian Chai tea (see last month’s biscuit recipe). Utterly gorgeous and highly recommended, it adds another subtle layer of flavour behind the cinnamon.

Accompany with your favourite Clipper brew: Earl Grey for me, made fairly strong, with a splash of milk.

Cuts into at least 8 slices


  • 160ml freshly made hot tea, see above
  • 225g dried stoned dates, chopped
  • 175g raisins or sultanas (or a mixture)
  • 75g plain flour (or gluten free flour)
  • 3 level teaspoons baking powder (most are naturally gluten-free but check the label if it’s an issue)
  • 75g wholemeal flour (or buckwheat flour for GF diets)
  • 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 50g ground almonds or desiccated coconut (see above for nut-free)
  • 175g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
  • 225g peeled, grated dessert apple


  1. Pour the tea over the dates, raisins and sultanas in a roomy saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir frequently.
  2. Remove from heat; put a lid on the pan and leave to cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 160C (fan oven) or equivalent
  4. Grease or lightly oil a round loose bottomed 20cm cake tin (or a silicone cake mould)
  5. Once the mixture is cool, sieve the plain flour and baking powder over the top (you can do this in the saucepan and save yourself some washing up). Stir thoroughly.
  6. Add the wholemeal or buckwheat flour and cinnamon and stir to combine. Stir in the ground almonds or desiccated coconut and chopped apricots.
  7. Add the apple and mix everything together thoroughly.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. (Don’t worry; the unlikely looking sludge-like mix will meld together in the heat of the oven, producing a firm, yet moist, golden brown cake.)
  9. Smooth the top with the back of a tablespoon (it helps if it’s wet) and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  10. Leave in the tin for a few moments to settle before transferring to a cooling rack.
  11. Eat warm or cold. Once cold, wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight tin, for up to a week.

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With love from Clipper!

We've gone a bit bonkers at Clipper HQ and decided we wanted to share the love with our lovely Clipper tea drinkers out there! We’ve created 3 Limited Edition tea caddies and each comes FREE with our special packs of Fairtrade Everyday Tea, Organic Everyday Tea and Pure Green tea (80 tea bags).

We’ve also made thousands of unbleached Clipper tea-towels and popped them into other packs of our Fairtrade Everyday Tea (80 bags). There are 4 different designs to look out for. And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve only gone and put 100% more tea bags into boxes of our Pure Green Tea 26  Bags – yes we’ve squeezed 52 bags in there!

Read more about which gifts we’ll be bestowing by clicking on the images below.

All this Clipper loveliness will be in supermarkets from the end of October.


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