Ras el hanout loaf with buttermilk

Ras el hanout loaf with buttermilk

1 loaf

In Morocco, ras el hanout is a spice mix generally used in savoury food, but it also works well in sweet recipes. You can buy ras el hanout pre-mixed, but it’s easy enough to make your own: mix together a teaspoon of ground cumin and half a teaspoon each of chilli powder, ground cinnamon and ground ginger. Make sure everything is mixed well and store in an airtight jar.

We like to use sel de Guérande for this cake, a sea salt from the salt marshes in southern Brittany, because it is quite delicate and helps get that balance of sweet and savoury this cake requires. The use of buttermilk also keeps the cake moist and it should be kept in an airtight tin for at least two days before you eat it, to allow it to become even more moist and flavoursome.


Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon butter, for greasing
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon plain flour, for dusting
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
250g dark muscovado sugar
2 eggs
180g black treacle
250ml buttermilk
1 tablespoon icing, to serve
1 long red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced, to serve
icing sugar, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and butter and flour a 1.2 litre loaf tin.
  2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ras el hanout and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir in the muscovado.
  3. In a separate bowl beat together the eggs, treacle and buttermilk. Pour this mixture into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and whisk vigorously until well combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes until just cooked – that is until the centre springs back to the touch. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool, then store in an airtight container for at least 2 days before serving.
  5. Once ready to serve, drizzle over the icing , top with the sliced chilli and dust with icing sugar.
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