Country House Cake – Recipe No. 147


This is the first recipe I’ve made out of my latest acquisition which is a fabulous wartime recipe book of tried and tested readers recipes printed by the Daily Telegraph during the war. Best thing was it just cost me a penny (plus £2.80 postage and packing)…

This came out amazingly well for an eggless cake and I added a sugar glaze to add a little extra decadence which was really nice and was so simple to do (a couple of dessert spoons of sugar dissolved in about 150 mls of boiling water and simmered for just a minute and drizzled over).

I used dairy free margarine and soy milk so this recipe is also suitable for vegans.

The whole cake cost about 50 pence to make so great value for money!

Country House Cake
12 oz plain flour
3 oz sugar
4 oz margarine
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
6 oz dried mixed fruit
1/2 pint warmed milk

Cream margarine and sugar together.
Add all dried ingredients making sure the flour is sieved and everything dry has been well mixed.
Stir in warm milk and beat well.
Place in a 7 inch deep tin.
Bake in a moderate 180 C for 1.5 to 2 hours.

Makes 12 slices.


19 thoughts on “Country House Cake – Recipe No. 147

  1. Cake looks truly scrumptious. Definitely going to try it. Wendy has to be dairy free, so this will help. She is also coeliac’s so we will experiment with different flours. Will let you know how it works out.

      • Yes, We have spent the last year trying to figure out the best mixes. Gluten free flour in its own right is ‘gritty’ in texture, and has a slightly bitter taste. We have found that Almond Flour mixed in gives a better taste. It is a shame as Wendy used to make wonderful Christmas cakes. She made a sponge cake yesterday for a jam sponge and custard pudding. She used soya milk for her custard, and normal milk for the rest of us (7 for Sunday Roast Dinner).
        Wendy does have a few cookbooks dealing with either Dairy free or Gluten free, She tends to go along with (now educated) trial and error as well. We have had some interesting tastes and textures over the last year!!
        The other nice thing we have found is that the coffee houses (Costa, Starbucks etc.) will do a soya coffee on request. They will also take great care in cleaning all the apparatus to ensure that no milk is transferred accidently.
        Unfortunately Thornton’s do not do a Dairy Free chocolate range, She suffers hayfever with flowers that are starting to wilt. What am I going to do for Valentines???

  2. Here in Australia most health shops and supermarket’s sell gluten free, dairy free chocolate. If you can not find it in store, usually in the health food isle, then try on-line. Good luck with it all, I have Coeliacs too, and am aware of how tricky it can be.

    • Thanks Lara, She does get the dairy free chocolate from the supermarket. There are specialist areas for ‘Free From’ ingredient products. Again we have to look closely as some may be suitable for coeliacs, but have milk products added. There are more and more that have both removed, maybe they are finally being linked.

      In the UK (and Europe) we have a new law stating that the statutory ingredients that can cause allergic reactions, have to appear in bold. Before this law, there was a separate box giving details of the allergens present. Both seemed to work, but with the bold type, you only need to read one set of ingredients, and your eye is drawn straight to the allergens. How is it done in Australia?

      We have 14 statutory allergens, Celery, Cereals containing gluten, Crustaceans, Eggs, Fish, Lupin, Milk, Molluscs, Mustard, Nuts, Peanuts, Sesame Seeds, Soya, and Sulphites.

      My wife has a problem with milk (only found out after 17 years of problems) and gluten. She doesn’t like Celery, Crustaceans, or Molluscs. I have a slight lip & throat numbing from celery (after eating it every day for two weeks).

      • The following list contains the ingredients for gluten free mixes for 3 basic breads, good luck, I hope it helps.
        Basic Bread
        120g potato flour
        50g gram flour
        50g maize flour
        150g rice flour
        1 tsp g free baking powder
        1 tsp xantham gum
        1 tbl dried yeast
        1 tsp sugar
        1 tsp salt
        2 tbl oil
        Basic Focaccia Bread
        120g potato flour
        50g gram flour
        50g maize flour
        150g rice flour
        1 tsp xantham gum
        1 tbl dried yeast
        1 tsp salt
        4 tbl oil
        Add rosemary
        Basic Flat bread
        150g potato flour
        150g gram flour
        200g rice flour
        1 ½ tbl xantham gum
        2 tsp dried yeast
        1 tsp salt
        2 tbl oil

      • I have just found a basic mix for all purpose flour that a friend sent to me, she is gluten free so I assume it’s a good one : 400g each gram flour and maize cornflour, 200g each potato flour and fine polenta and 5 tablspoons almond meal. Mix well & use for cakes.
        Easy fruit cake
        1kg fruit and nuts of your choice
        125g butter
        125g sugar
        150g of the above flour mix
        1 tbl gelatine
        1 tbl mixed spices
        Lightly cream the butter and sugar. Sift flour, spices and gelatine together. Mix the fruit and flour mixes together then mix in the creamed mixture and the eggs alternately but gently. Spoon into a prepared 20cm tin, smooth the top and decorate with fruits or nuts then bake at 160c for 2-2 1/2 hours. When cooked remove from the oven pierce surface and spoon 3-4 tbl brandy or whisky over the cake then return the cake to the oven switch it off and let the oven and cake cool right down before removing the cake.

  3. Made this cake just after breakfast this morning (really wanted some cake with my tea today). Unfortunately, it didn’t quite make it to teatime…we had a slice after lunch! I used raisins and chopped prunes for the dried fruit. It was very moist and flavourful. We will be making this one again! Thank you for posting these recipes.

  4. Made this cake for my grandson to take to school. They are studying ww2, this week they had to look at rationing and they could make recipes from ww2. Tha cake smelt delicious and looked just like yours. Not sure of the taste, I doubt there will be any left after 30 odd 10/11 yrs old get their hands on it.

  5. i love your experiment! with regards to the cake, you bake it for 1.5 to 2 hours? that seems like a long time to me–just wanted to make sure i had it right. thanks

  6. Pingback: Home Front – Wartime Recipes (5) | Pacific Paratrooper

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