FOR THOSE who would like to try last week's saffron, olive oil and morello cherry cake, a colleague offered a useful tip. The dried morello cherries, from Middle Eastern delicatessens, may be replaced by American dried sour Montmorency cherries (pounds 1.49 for 3oz/85g at Waitrose).

This week's winning recipe, from Jo Anne Hill of Bristol, is for 'pepper cake'. There is no pepper in it, but enough treacle and spices for a powerful effect. Ms Hill describes it as 'very dark and dense'.

Pepper Cake

Serves 10

Ingredients: 1lb (450g) soft white organic stone-ground flour

2 level tsp ground ginger

1/2 level tsp ground cloves

2 level tsp ground coriander

2 level tsp caraway

1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda

12oz (340g) black treacle

2oz (55g) butter

2oz (55g) brown sugar

1oz (27g) candied peel

2oz (55g) sultanas

10fl oz (280ml) brown ale

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350F/180C/ gas 4. Grease a medium-sized loaf or cake tin, dust with flour and shake off excess. In a saucepan, melt butter, adding treacle. Heat gently until blended, then cool slightly. Sift together flour, sugar, ground spices, bicarb - twice - then mix in caraway seeds. Coat dried fruits in 3tbs of the flour mixture. Gradually add butter mixture to flour, alternating with ale, and finally adding the fruit. Using a rubber spatula, tip the batter into the baking tin, smooth the top, then bake for about one hour, or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

This would be delicious with stewed fruit and creme fraiche.

Next week: more spiced breads and cakes. Send recipes, including source, to Emily Green, Recipe, Weekend Features, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB. Those whose recipes we print will receive a bottle of 1989 Bukkuram de Bartoli from Reid Wines, near Bristol.