Eggless Fruit Cake

I made meatloaf last week and it looked like fruitcake… Yesterday I made fruitcake and it looked like meatloaf! Go figure!

Despite it looking like meatloaf this was an excellent 1940s recipe… moist and tasty and comforting and more-ish! Didn’t taste like meatloaf at all, just tasted like Autumn with a bit of Christmas thrown in for good measure!

It was a HIT with all the family.. I did eat 4 slices yesterday and two today and  yesterday it fed the girls and one visitor for dinner and still enough for their dessert today…. I think the 1940s family would have made sure it lasted a little longer!

Eggless Fruit Cake

  • 10 oz self raising flour (or plain flour with 3 teaspoons of baking powder added)
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed/all spice
  • 1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 pint of well strained tea
  • 3 oz margarine
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 3 oz dried fruit
Grease and flour a 7 inch cake tin or a large loaf tin
Sift the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and spice together into a bowl
Pour the tea into a saucepan and add the sugar, margarine and dried fruit
Heat until the fat and sugar melt and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring
Set aside to cool a little
Pour over flour mixture and beat well and spoon into cake tin
Bake in the centre of oven at 180 C for about an hour
Remove and leave to cool for a while before removing from tin
The texture of mine was rather like a tea bread… totally lovely by itself or served sliced and buttered if you wish

19 thoughts on “Eggless Fruit Cake

  1. I think I’ve made this cake. A Marguerite Patten recipe? I remember the tea and I remember it being quite tasty. Thanks for reminding me; I’m going to make it again.

  2. Hi Linzi and Lili

    Yes it is from the book “Feeding the Nation” by Marguerite Patten and you are right- it is tasty indeed!

    C xxxx

    • This is one of my mum’s WW2 canteen recipes (she was a MoF cook) for a boiled or steamed fruit cake which is similar to a Scottish “Clootie Dumpling” ie it’s cooked like any suet pudding such as Spotted Dick (in a cloot or cloth) or in a pudding basin. No sugar is required as the liquid sweetens from the fruit and the flavour will depend on the liquid used. You can add spices and you can be assured that it it keeps fairly well – if it isn’t all devoured ! It can be served as a cake or a pudding.

      I kg mixed dried fruit of choice
      750 mls liquid (such as cold tea, flat beer – any kind)
      2 cups stale breadcrumbs or stale cake crumbs
      2 cups self raising flour plus 1 level tbl baking powder

      Soak fruit and stale crumbs in liquid for 24 hrs.
      Next day sift the flour and baking powder together then stir into the soaked fruit mix, pour into a pregreased dish & slow cook as for steam pudding, about 8 hours or overnight in a slow cooker on low.

  3. Love the recipes, was ‘brought up’ on most of them, and learnt to cook them from an early age, and still use them now. The Bread pudding recipe can have a lot of extra’s put in it to make it ‘special’ if not true wartime fayre, cherries, chopped nuts, chopped apricots the list is endless. Probably not good for diets, but does taste good.

  4. Hi Carolyn,

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I do have a question. I’m from the US, and I was wondering if “mixed/all spice” meant allspice or if it meant a mixture of spices?


    • Hi there … mixed spice in the Uk is a mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg and allspice so I’d say use a mixture of all three 🙂 C xxx

  5. I tried this recipe with SR Flour and it did not rise properly, then remembering another recipe I used plain flour and baking powder. This time it worked and I also let the fruit/tea/sugar/fat mix go totally cold before adding the flour etc. Even the less well risen cake was tasty.

  6. My mother called this ‘cut and come again cake’, but I’ve no idea why. Many of her most delicious dishes were wartime recipes.

  7. Made this cake for a wartime Christmas dinner we were invited to. It turned out really well. Everyone was surprised it had no eggs or milk in it!!! Had some for breakfast with butter. Also made a ginger suet pudding with jam in the bottom. It was also good. Not so good is “carrot fudge”. The main course was mock duck-made with pork sausage meat,stuffed with apple and onion and with parsnip legs.

  8. Pingback: Reflections on my Week of Rationing -

  9. my mother made an eggless fruit cake using best foods mayonaisse AKA Hellmans her reciept was lost over the years, I was told it was a war time reciept because eggs were so hard to get, if anyone knows of this reciept I would love to have it.

  10. There’s a ration time fruit cake recipe that I’ve been using since I was a very poor mature university student back in 2009 and couldn’t afford to eat properly. It’s also eggless but does include a little milk. No tea though. I’m intrigued by this one. I got really into growing my own veg, keeping chickens and baking WWII style and now that I’m self employed and too poor to buy brand food etc, I’ve got very used to making do in the kitchen. My recipe is very different to yours but made the most amazing cake and I still use it today. I should give yours a go too!

  11. I was born in 1937. My mother called this “Cold Tea Cake”. However she soaked the dried fruit in the cold tea overnight. Now 83 years later I think I’ve finally discovered this old favourite.

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