This is a collection of Christmas Cake recipes taken from, ‘A Yorkshire Cookery Book’ – recipes collected by Mary Gaskell in 1916 from Yorkshire housewives. I have taken one of these excellent recipes and converted the weights and measures for use in the modern kitchen. What is very apparent from these Yorkshire recipes (from the First World War) is that they do not use spices, and they do not add alcohol – but before you worry about this Christmas Cake recipe not being traditional enough there a far more of these ‘plainer’ types of early Christmas Cake recipes than the later ‘heavier’ ones we now think of as traditional – and these early Christmas Cakes are far from plain, they are rich, moist and fruity, and therefore might appeal to more people on Christmas Day.
What is also noticeable about these cakes is that they use a lot of eggs, and that the cakes are intended to rise by using baking powder. This means they can be made as a last minute Christmas Cake, not needing the weeks to let it mature like other Christmas Cakes. In terms of decorating, this Christmas Cake can be left plain, it can be covered in marzipan and royal icing like a traditional cake, or it can just simply be decorated with edible Christmas cake decorations see a Christmas Cake Masterclass.
Christmas Cake: Mrs May, Southfield House, Wakefield
7 lbs. flour, 2 lbs. dripping, 1lb. currants, 1 lb. sultanas, 1 lb. large raisins, 2 lbs. sugar, 1/4 lb. mixed peel, 1 lemon rind and juice, 1 quart of new milk, 4 eggs, 3d. yeast, a little grated nutmeg. Prepare as teacakes, when risen, add fruit, etc. and set to rise in tins.
Christmas Cake: M. Greenwood, Mytholmroyd.
1 lb. of flour. 1/2 lb. currants, 1/2 lb butter, 1/2 lb. sugar, 2 oz. lemon peel, 2 teaspoonfuls baking powder, 3 eggs, 1/2 pint milk. Mix the baking powder thoroughly in the flour, then rub in the butter. Add the sugar, currants, and lemon peel, beat the eggs and mix them with the milk. After mixing them all together, bake in a paper-lined tin in a moderate oven.
A Good Christmas Cake: Mrs. J.J. Howcroft, Lilac House, Streethouse.
1/2 lb. butter, 1/2 lb. of sugar, 1 lb. flour, 1/2 lb. of currants, 1 lb. raisins, 1/4 lb. sultanas, 1/4 lb mixed peel, 2 oz. of almonds, rind of lemon, 6 eggs, 1 teaspoonful baking powder, 1/2 teaspoonful vanilla flavour. Prepare the cake tin carefully by lining with greased paper, and see that the oven is hot. Cream the butter and sugar together very thoroughly, and beat the eggs; add these and a little flour alternately. Stir in the flour and flavouring and baking powder. Add a little milk. This recipe is improved in colour by adding 2 tablespoonfuls of treacle in a little warm milk.
Christmas Cake: A. Sykes
2 lb. flour, 1 1/2 lbs. butter, 12 eggs, 2 lbs. currants, 1 3/4 lbs. sugar, 1/2 lb. citron peel, 1/4 lb. lemon peel, 1/2 lb. of ground almonds, 1/2 teaspoonful of carbonate of soda, 1/2 teaspoonful of cream of tartar.
Christmas Cake 1916 Recipe
- 225g butter
- 225g sugar
- 500g flour
- 225g currants
- 500g raisins
- 125g sultanas
- 125g candied mixed peel, chopped small
- 60g ground almonds
- zest of one lemon
- 6 eggs
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp black treacle (molasses)
- 100ml milk
Grease your cake tin lightly with butter, then line your cake tin on the bottom with a piece of baking parchment or grease-proof paper cut to the right size. Then cut out a wide strip of baking parchment that will line all around the sides of the tin and also stick out over the top of the tin by a good 10cm.
Pre-heat your oven to 160C
In a very large mixing bowl soften the butter and then cream the butter and sugar together before adding in and beating the eggs one at a time. Once everything is fully mixed stir in the black treacle.
Then sift in the flour and stir in the ground almonds. Add the milk, vanilla extract and stir in the dried fruit, candied peel and lemon zest.
Thoroughly mix all of these cake batter ingredients together, if a little dry, add in some more milk – then put the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven at 160C for 1 hour. After 1 hour test the cake by pushing a metal skewer into the center of the cake to see if it comes out clean and hot, it might need 30 to 40 minutes longer.
Once baked remove from the oven and leave to cool for ten minutes. After ten minutes fold down the grease-proof paper and wrap some foil over the top of the cake tin, sealing the cake. As the cake continues to cool any moisture evaporating will be trapped by the paper and foil and be returned back into the top of the cake, keeping it moist.
Once fully cool serve, decorate with some edible Christmas cake decorations, or keep in an air tight container for a few days.