Cornish fruit-infused slab-cake

I love trying traditional Cornish recipes, especially biscuits and cakes. This traditional Cornish Hevva cake has a texture somewhere between cake and shortbread – delicious served warm or cold with a cup of tea.

Having tried a number of recipes, this one is my firm favourite. I think the fact that it contains eggs (some traditionists would argue that this is wrong) makes the cake hold together better, essential for a quick dunk!

So, what does it taste like? Hevva cake is a traditional Cornish fruit-infused slab-cake, reputed to have originated back in the days when Cornwall sent out large pilchard fishing fleets. The old Cornish greeting ‘Hevva’ would be called from the cliffs to welcome the returning fishermen. Once safely back on dry land, the wives would serve the hungry fishermen with Hevva cake, or ‘welcome’ cake. A nice story, I think!


Cornish Hevva Cake

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes



  • 250g of self-raising flour
  • 100g of castor sugar
  • 120g of margarine/butter
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 25ml of milk (estimate)
  • 150 grams mixed dried fruit
Cornish Hevva Cake


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C / 350°F.
  2. Grease a flat baking tray.
  3. Cube the margarine and place into a large bowl.
  4. Add the flour and rub in with your fingertips until you get something like breadcrumbs.
  5. Introduce the sugar and dried fruit.
  6. Add the milk and mix until you have a soft dough.
  7. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface until roughly 1″ thick. Try to keep it roughly rectangular in shape.
  8. Carefully transfer the dough to the baking sheet and score the surface with a knife to resemble a fishing net design.
  9. Pop into the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  10. Add granulated sugar to taste. Serve in squares either warm or cold.


For a slightly different taste, you can try adding a little lemon juice to the mixture.

Cornish Hevva Cake
Home-made Hevva Cake
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