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Valhalla Fruit Cake

This is a unique Shetland cake as it uses ‘Island Bere’ which is made with 100% Bere, a traditional and ancient 6-row barley. In 2004 when this beer was first produced the Bere was grown in Bigton, however when production declined in Shetland it was sourced in Orkney and still is. Plans are underway, however to re-introduce regular home-grown production. Bere is also an ingredient of ‘Old Scatness’.
In this wholesome cake I have used dried fruits and I recommend a mixture of Apricots, Dates,Figs and Prunes. If possible – soak the cut-up fruits in the beer overnight. I also use beremeal produced in Orkney and available from Scoop Wholefoods in Lerwick and in Country Shops. (


450g dried apricots/ figs /prunes/dates – cut into small pieces
125ml Island Bere (soak fruit overnight if possible)
200g unsalted butter
200g soft brown sugar
300g self raising flour
100g beremeal
2 level teaspoons baking powder
2 level teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon marmalade (about 75g)
4 eggs – lightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 180ºC and grease and line a large loaf tin: 26x10cm (you could also make this in a 20cm round cake tin)
Sieve flour, beremeal, cinnamon and baking powder – on to a plate.
Cream butter and sugar until soft and add eggs.
Add soaked fruit and marmalade and mix really well.
Add dry ingredients mix very well. A good spatula is best.
Put into the lined tin and into the oven near the top.
Make for 20 minutes at 180ºC then reduce the heat to 150ºC. The cake will need about 1-1½ hours. Cool in the tin and ideally keep for a day before eating.

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