Caketober Recipe: Manchester Cake

We’ve all heard of Manchester Tart, surely? I remember it from school days, a dry base, thin layer of raspberry jam, pile of cheap custard, sprinkle of coconut and a cherry on top? It’s not just me who had this delicacy was it?

And when it came to Caketober I wanted to create or bake a Manchester Cake. It’s based on the tart, uses the same flavours, but it’s most definitely cake. It’s actually rather good, even if I do say so myself. And I do.


Manchester Cake


For the cake:

180g caster sugar

180g unsalted butter (softened)

180g self raising flour (as ever, I can recommend Sainsbury’s Sponge flour for this)

1tsp vanilla extract

3 free range eggs


For the filling:

Raspberry jam (seeded or seedless, entirely up to you)

2 tbsp dessicated coconut

Fresh raspberries


For the topping:

15g Birds Eye Custard powder (other brands are available)

15g caster sugar

200ml milk

50g salted butter (not essential, but the contrast works ridiculously well


A 20cm diameter cake tin, greased and lined (I found a loose bottomed tin worked best)


Pop your oven on to preheat – gas mark 4/180°C.


In a large bowl beat together your softened butter and sugar until creamy.

Mix in your eggs one at a time, and add in the vanilla extract.


Sift in your flour and mix until all your flour is absorbed into the mixture. It should be a nice ‘dropping’ texture.


Pour into your tin, smooth over the top gently and put into the oven.

It should take approximately 25-30 minutes to bake, but every oven is different, so it’s worth checking during cooking. As ever, the easiest way to test is to insert a skewer into the centre of your cake and pull it out gently. If completely clean, the cake is done. If not, give it a little longer.

Once cooked, let the cake cool for a little while in the tin and then on a cooling rack until completely cold. While waiting, you can move onto the frosting.


Make up the custard – we’re using around 1/3 of the standard amount on the package, so take 1 tbsp of the milk and mix it with the powder and sugar, while you heat the rest of the milk to boiling. When just boiling, mix the hot milk into the custard mixture, stirring constantly until thick. Leave to cool.


Once your custard has cooled, beat in the butter, until the consistency is a little creamier. This helps it retain it’s shape on the cake.

Once everything is prepared and your cake has cooled, it’s time to assemble.


Slice the cake in half horizontally, and spread the bottom half with the raspberry jam. Be as generous or stingy as you like, though I’m told thicker is better!

Dot with raspberries and sprinkle on the dessicated coconut. I have to admit this filling suggestion was borrowed from James Martin’s Manchester Tart recipe on the BBC website.

Pop on the second layer of cake and spread with the custard frosting.

Dust again with coconut and add the cherry on top

There you have it! The first Caketober recipe.

Manchester Cake.

Please, if you try the recipe and like it, or discover any problems with it, let me know. Feedback is always welcome.

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