Clockwork cake

A take on an old-fashioned date slice, this clockwork cake is tasty, wholesome, and full of fibre. It’s also easy to make, especially if you’re in a hurry, and because it’s a tray bake, the pieces are just as good for packed lunches as they are for afternoon tea.

Why is it called ‘clockwork cake’?

Have a guess …

Clockwork cake recipe

For crumble:

  • 7oz/200g self-raising flour
  • 6oz/170g oats
  • 2oz/60g walnuts
  • 4oz/115g caster sugar
  • half tsp cinnamon
  • 7oz/200g butter

For filling:

  • 7oz/200g prunes
  • 4 tblsp water
  • 1oz caster sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C / 350 F, Gas Mark 4.

Combine the flour, oats and sugar in a medium-large bowl.

Grind or crush the walnuts. I used an electric grinder (£12.99 from Aldi 3 years ago) but you can do a good job of this by placing the nuts in a bag and smacking them with a rolling pin. It’s not an exact science.

Add nuts to the mix.

Melt the butter gently in a small pan and pour it into the dry mix. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until everything is a little bit stodgy and claggy. Put the bowl to one side.

Chop or scissor the prunes into tiny pieces and chuck them into the small pan that held the butter (no pan washing required).

Add the water and sugar and heat gently until the mixture bubbles. Stir, so they don’t stick. Take off the heat when the water disappears. Mash them with a fork or whizz with a hand blender stick. (More effective this way, but what you’ll save in time, you use up cleaning the stick knife later). They should be soft enough to mash—if not, add a couple more spoons of water and pop them on the heat again, mashing while simmering.

Spread half the filling on a half-size baking tray. Failing that, you can use a section of a standard baking tray. Press it down so that the base is firm. If you’re using a large baking tray, you can firm it up around the edges so that it keeps its shape despite having no sides.

Dollop the prune filling in blobs across the base until you’ve used it all up. You can spread it across with the back of a spoon if you want, but when you press down the rest of the crumble on top, it will push out the filling anyway.

Bake until golden brown. It will brown around the edges first, so keep an eye on those.

Leave the tray on a cooling rack for 20 mins and then turn it out as one piece onto the rack to cool completely.

Eat with a cup of tea!