I owe an apology to Malcom, a gracious and generous Englishman, who sent me another recipe for Tunis Cake. It has taken me much too long to post it here, it diappeared into my voluminous email archives. But, I've retrieved it, and here is Malcom's recipe, along with some of his email messages' comments.
From Malcom's email messages to me:
"...In particular I note you have a recipe for Tunis Cake, and I am
wondering if you might be interested for me to send what I believe
to be the original recipe for this cake which came into my
possession following the death of a lady called Elizabeth Ewing
whose late Husband was the baker who put together the recipe for
Tunis Cake as was produced (albeit with the addition of
preservatives and colouring which don't occur in the original!) and
sold by McVities in the UK from the late 1950s until the mid 1970s.
Elizabeth died in May 1999 and left the recipe to my Mother who
sadly died soon afterwards in August 1999.
The version you have from the Heligan Book is similar but not exactly the same. I gather the original cake really did come from Tunisia. Elizabeth's late Husband was serving with the Army during World War II in North Africa and did try the Tunisian version, which I believe is very scented and spicy and probably not to our tastes. If you would like the recipe you are more than welcome to use it as you wish, as I know Elizabeth would want others to enjoy it."
" ...I don't think I explained I have a great interest in British Cake Making and for no other purpose than a pure hobby (by occupation I'm a lawyer) I collect recipes. Having inherited hundreds from my late Mother and her Mother: I am, amongst those who know, a kind of reference library for how to make various British Cakes!
Hereunder follows the recipe for Tunis Cake.
This Cake rose to huge popularity as an alternative to Christmas Cake during the 1950s and up until the start of the 1970s, but then disappeared and has never been re-introduced. Dozens of recipes have been created over the years, but this is the original recipe owned by Elizabeth Ewing of Inverness who in 1949 along with her Husband, who was a Master Baker, produced this Cake.
CAKE INGREDIENTS: (converted to Metric)
250g Butter, softened
250g Caster Sugar
4 Large Eggs
175g Self-Raising Flour, Sifted
150g Plain Flour, Sifted
A small pinch of Table Salt
Rind of One Orange Grated
2 tablespoons of Orange Juice
150g Very good quality dark chocolate
1.5 tablespoons of warm water.
50g Icing Sugar, sifted
25g Butter, softened
2 tablespoons of Orange Juice
Yellow Food Colouring.
1. Cream the Butter and Caster Sugar together until light and fluffy.
2. Add the Eggs individually and with each Egg add one tablespoon of each kind of Flour, and beat well.
3 Fold in using a metal spoon the remaining flours, salt and orange rind and juice. Pour the mixture in to a buttered and baking parchment lined deep 20cm cake tin. Smooth the top carefully.
4. Bake at 170C (please note that if using a Fan or Ventitherm Oven reduce temperature to between 140C and 150C) for one-and-a-half hours until golden in colour and a skewer test comes out clean.
5. Cool cake for a minimum of 10 minutes before removing it from the tin and cool completely for a minimum of 10 hours.
Melt the chocolate which should be broken into small pieces with the Butter and water by placing it all in a Basin over a pan of very hot water. Leave for about 10 minutes , beat and stir until smooth.
Leave to cool.
Secure a double thickness sheet of greaseproof paper around the cooled cake so that it comes at least 2 inches about the top of the cake. Pour the cooked chocolate over the top of the cake; smoothing it very carefully (don't rush this) and leave to set for at least 12 hours.
Then remove the paper carefully.
Blend together the Icing Sugar, Butter Orange Juice and Yellow Food Colouring until smooth. Using a piping bag with a small star nozzle, pipe a small circle of buttercream in the middle of the cake, then 2 more circles equally spaced around it.
Note to Pat
As I mentioned this cake was only seen at Christmastime and was lastly decorated with Marzipan Fruits (usually Oranges and Bananas). Personally I just can't make these as they are so time consuming and I'm not that artistic. Last of all it freezes marvelously.