Wartime Christmas Cake – Ministry of Food – Recipe No. 156

So here is the first promised Wartime Christmas themed recipe for our ‘Wartime Christmas Countdown’ here on www.the1940sExperiment.com.

This is a recommended Christmas Cake recipe from the Ministry of Food in the mid 1940’s and the rationed ingredients make a very acceptable cake. My son works in Tesco’s so I was able to go shopping last night with him and get a 10% discount on my shopping! (he has a staff discount card!). Every little bit helps!

Wartime Christmas Cake – Ministry of Food

4 oz (115g) margarine
3 oz (85g) of soft brown sugar
1 lb dried mixed fruit
2 reconstituted dried eggs or 2 fresh eggs
3 level tablespoons of warmed treacle or golden syrup
8 oz (225g) of plain flour
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
3 tablespoons of cold strained tea
(I also added a slug of dark rum!)


Line a 7 inch (18cm) cake tin with greaseproof or parchment paper.
Pre-heat oven to 150 C (300 F), Gas Mark 2.
Cream the margarine and sugar.
Gradually add the beaten eggs then the syrup or the treacle.
Sift all the dry ingredients together then add to the creamed mixture and then add the fruit and tea. Add a slug of rum or rum essence if you wish.
Spoon into the cake tin and make a hollow in the centre so the cake will be flatter on top.
Bake for 2 to 2.5 hours or until the top is firm and the sides are slightly sinking away from the side of the tin. (You may need to cover top with foil half way through cooking).
Cool in the tin.
When cool remove from the tin and place in airtight container.

Over the coming weeks you can feed the cake with rum/whisky/sherry and nearer Christmas you can finally ice and decorate!

“Do you enjoy my blog and recipes? I’m raising money for the Royal British Legion by running the London Marathon in April. Please consider giving a few £’s – thank you 🙂 “



31 thoughts on “Wartime Christmas Cake – Ministry of Food – Recipe No. 156

  1. Oh that looks amazing, I have that recipe book it’s brilliant! I am going to make this cake and use the recipe for mock almond paste too, my favourite part ☺️ I love your hair Carolyn it looks a little forties style, you have such a bonny face if you don’t mind me saying! Xx

  2. Recipe sounds lovely, will give this a go, thank you! Nice to think of all the wartime housewives who may have made this very recipe! Could I just check on how much dried fruit you use please? Thanks!

  3. That is a lovely looking Christmas cake and I bet it will taste amazing on the big day. Enjoy it with a cup of tea while watching old Christmas movies. My favourite is Scrooge with Alastair Sim.

    • Hiya…. I know my kids are older and at college etc but they all still live at home and I am a single parent so although I work full time there is only one full time income coming into the household. £200 of that every month is spent on commuting so I do have to budget quite carefully. Eating simply and not extravagantly really does help!!! xxx

  4. What a beautiful cake! Your recipe video has inspired me: I am now resolved to make us a Christmas cake this year. I’ve thought about doing one for years, but this time, after seeing how simple it really can be, I am actually going to make us one.

    I am very much looking forward to more of your Wartime Christmas Countdown series!

  5. Hi Carolyn,
    Do you think you could use butter instead of margarine? I’m also wondering if I don’t feed it with alcohol will it be ok. Thanks. Sarah

    • Absolutely! Yes to butter! It will be fine if you don’t feed it with alcohol, it will just be less moist and less tasty I’d imagine. You could always feed it with a little black tea with rum essence in it 🙂 xxx

  6. A bit off topic but found this recipe on the Old Mersey Tiimes website.
    Quick Christmas pudding
    Instead of taking full jam ration, purchase 1lb jar of mincemeat and mix thoroughly with 1lb of self raising flour. Put into greased basin and steam in the usual way. Does not give a time but 4 hours seems usual for this type of pudding.

  7. It’s a cold damp Remembrance Day here in Canada so this recipe is perfect. I’m certain it will smell delicious while baking. Love your blog!

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  10. 2 Questions.

    Would the cinnamon and other spices have been hard to obtain due to interruption in shipping?
    Was margarine a butter replacement during the war? I know both were rationed but was margarine easier to get? I always thought butter would’ve been saved for baking esp for a special occasion such as Christmas.

  11. 3oz sugar is plenty if like me you don’t have a sweet tooth, so no syrup or treacle either, the mixed fruit adds the rest of the sweetness. If you soak the fruit in the hot tea it will plump up to make a moister cake.
    Personally I can’t stand rum so I use a mix of brandy and sherry in the cake and feed with brandy.

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  13. Hello Carolyn, I have missed you on your blog, don’t get facetime etc ….. thanks for this recipe, I may try it, my grandmothers old recipe (scotland) is so long and expensive we no longer use it (it was delicious though) I will use butter and sherry. trust all is well, ann lee s, vancouver island, bc canada

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