1916 Trench Cake – Recipe

As this coming Sunday is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1, I decided to make, what is known as, a “Trench Cake”, made from the original recipe from 1916.

Whilst men were fighting overseas, they longed for pieces of mail from home, and it soon became a tradition where the women back home would bake a cake that would not spoil quickly…  They would wrap it up securely, and the soldiers would often share the cake with the rest of their regiment.

Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients

8oz plain flour

4oz butter

3oz dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, dried cherries, etc.)

1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

1 tsp vinegar (malt)

1/4 pint milk (full fat)

2 tsp mixed spice powders (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, etc.)

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180C (160C for fan assisted ovens).
  • Grease and line your cake tin (I used an 8 inch tin).
  • Rub the butter and the flour together with the tips of your fingers, until the mixture resembles crumble.

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  • Add the fruit, sugar and powdered spices, and continue mixing together with your fingertips.

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  • Measure out the milk in a jug, and add the vinegar.
  • Add the bicarb of soda to the milk and vinegar, then quickly add the liquid to the dry mix and beat well.

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  • Pour the cake mixture in to your greased and lined cake tin, and place in the centre of the oven for anywhere between 1 and 2 hours – A big difference, I know, but you can tell that your cake is ready by inserting a skewer in tot he middle of the cake, and if it comes out clean, it’s ready.  My cake was ready after just 1hr 5mins.

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  • Carefully turn the cake out on to a wire cooling rack, and allow the cake to cool fully before slicing and enjoying.

As you enjoy this cake, give a little thought to all of those who fought, and lost their lives in the Great War.  Lest We Forget.

 

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