Come Dine With Me- Wartime Eggless Christmas Cake


So with trepidation I am waiting to see the “Wartime Christmas Dinner Party” on this afternoons TV show “Come Dine With Me”…

The trepidation is that John Stevens, the history buff, who studied the history of the secret services, at Cambridge University, used my recipe for “Eggless Wartime Christmas Cake”  (an authentic wartime Ministry of Food recipe I slightly modified) off my blog for his dinner party.

The brief clips I saw yesterday show the wartime food NOT being well received by the other guests. Hardly surprising as it looks like Christmas Dinner was MURKEY (mock turkey- what we are having on Christmas Day this year) served with what appeared to be shredded boiled cabbage..



Even if the guests are not impressed by the cake, it really is pretty good! (as long as you feed it with sherry or other alcohol) and this morning I have pretty much finished decorating mine for the big day with plain icing and mock marzipan.. Click here for mock marzipan recipe

I am putting the recipe below for anyone who wants to make it- there is still time!


Wartime Eggless Christmas Cake (I doubled the below quantities to make a larger cake)

  • 1 large carrot finely grated
  • 2-3 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 4 oz margarine or butter
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ½ teaspoon of almond essence (or 1 teaspoon of rum extract)
  • 6 oz dried fruit (I used mixed)
  • 12 oz self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 small teacup of slightly warm tea or coffee (with milk in)
  1. Cook the grated carrot and syrup over a low heat for a few minutes
  2. Cream the sugar and margarine until light and fluffy
  3. Stir the bicarbonate of soda into the syrup mixture and then beat it into the sugar and margarine as if adding an egg, bit by bit
  4. Add the vanilla and almond essence (or vanilla and rum extract)
  5. Add the dried mixed fruit
  6. Fold in the sieved flour and cinnamon
  7. Add some of the tea or coffee if needs be as the batter needs to be thick but moist
  8. Put the mixture into a greased meatloaf tin
  9. Smooth the top leaving a slight depression in the centre to stop the cake from rising too much during cooking
  10. Place into the pre-heated oven at 200C for 15 minutes
  11. Reduce temperature to 160C and cook for 45 minutes (cover with foil if cake is getting too dark)
  12. Cool and decorate with your choice of edible toppings


12 thoughts on “Come Dine With Me- Wartime Eggless Christmas Cake

  1. Pingback: Wartime Eggless Christmas Cake « The 1940's Experiment

  2. i’m in charge of making dessert for this year’s Christmas Eve/Day dinners and will be happily making cakes and other sweets from the 1940s! so excited to bring a little history to our table (so far, every recipe i’ve tried from my book i’ve really like 🙂 ) i may have to add this cake to my collection…..

  3. Hi Carolyn,

    This is John from Come Dine With Me. I saw your blog post a couple of days ago and held off commenting until the episode had been broadcast.

    Your site is an amazing resource and I wouldn’t have been able to attempt an authentic wartime Christmas feast without it. I only wish that my culinary skills could have lived up to the promise of the theme.

    I wish you all the best and will definitely be attempting some more recipes from here (the Eggless Christmas Cake is great by the way!).


    • Hi John… thanks for commenting!

      I am still waiting to see the episode, it’s not been loaded up on the Channel 4 site but can’t wait to see it. Anyone who re-creates wartime recipes has me all of a quiver ESPECIALLY as I’m going to do MURKEY on Christmas Day for the first time this year and I saw a clip at the end of yesterdays episode that showed you had a go! How did it taste?? I keep checking the CH4 website to see if it’s uploaded… LOL

      I’ll be back to comment more after watching your episode and the eggless christmas cake recipe is pretty good especially if you feed it with LOTS of cheap sherry afterwards!! 😉

      Well done to you for hosting a wartime themed Christmas dinner- so looking forward to watching it!!

      C xxxx

  4. Watching it now…you are adorable cooking away with your Dig for Victory soup…LOL!! Was surprised too that Charlie at it seeing he doesn’t like vegetables!! Quote: “It looked pretty terrible but seemed to go down OK…”

    LMAO you got your guests to wear gas masks!! And you have sirens an an ARP warden! They won’t forget your dinner party in a hurry!

    Uh oh! Your roast murkey looked blitzed BUT

    QUOTE JULES” “I LOVE murkey, I’m getting a doggy bag of murkey to take home…”

    Can’t wait to have this on Christmas Day now!! (with vegan sausagemeat)

    BTW WELL DONE! I’d have loved have come to your party- it looked a giggle and was informative too!!!

  5. Carolyn, your blog is spectacular! I don’t know why I haven’t found it before today as it includes so many of my own interests: frugal cooking, veganism, the homefront war effort and more. Your wartime Christmas cake is very similar to my mom’s recipe for what she called War Cake! Now I’m inspired. I’m going to pull out Mother’s recipe for War Cake and serve it up this Christmas with a bit of fruitcake fruit added to the recipe. We’ll see how people respond! Thanks for your wonderful work, Carolyn, and all the best to you on your quest for a greener and healthier life.

  6. Hello, Carolyn – I’m just checking in to wish you a happy Christmas, and good health and happiness in the New Year. It’s late afternoon Sunday 23rd here in NZ, I’m watching and hearing the contractors cutting, raking and baling our hay-crop, as of course it’s mid-summer for us. I’m sure your weather is a bit different to ours! Every good wish to you; thankyou for your blog; thinking of you; Carry On. 🙂

  7. Hey I was wondering.. Does the cake need to rest for several days or weeks before serving, like a Christmas pudding does ? I have this recipe for Christmas pudding that needs to be made the day after thanksgiving (or the British equivelent, I suppose) and was wondering if this was like that… something about setting the flavors..hmm. I love your blog, by the way.. I am getting my friends to make some recipes. The rock cakes are a major hit!

  8. Pingback: Our first Christmas together 1944 | Appletree Days

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