Traditional Christmas Cake Recipe


In a festive departure from the normal subject of this blog, I have decided to post the traditional Christmas cake recipe as made by Mrs Beeton.

For those who haven't heard of her, Mrs Beeton is a very famous Victorian lady and publishing sensation. She was born as Isabella Mary Mayson on 12 March 1836 in Cheapside, London. She was the eldest of twenty-one children, and grew up in the Grandstand at Epsom in Surrey, where her step-father, Henry Dorling, was clerk to the racecourse.

In 1861, at the age of 25, more or less forced by circumstances, she became a work at home mom and n entrepreneur she wrote what is probably the most famous cookbook in the world known as “Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management” or, “Mrs Beeton’s Cookbook”. The image we have of her is of a rather traditional matronly Victorian housewife. In fact she was quite the opposite and very much a trailblazer in the male-dominated society of her time. If she were alive today I'm sure she would have been a sucessful Internet entrepreneur. Sadly she did not live to a great age, as she died unexpectedly at the age of 28 after a short illness. Her traditional Christmas cake recipe follows below, for further recipes see the foot of this page. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

Mrs Beeton's Christmas Cake Recipe (in her own words)

5 teacupfuls of flour, 1 teacupful of melted butter, 1 teacupful of cream, 1 teacupful of treacle, 1 teacupful of moist sugar, 2 eggs, ½ oz. of powdered ginger, ½ lb. of raisins, 1 teaspoonful of carbonate of soda, 1 tablespoonful of vinegar.

Mode.--Make the butter sufficiently warm to melt it, but do not allow it to oil; put the flour into a basin; add to it the sugar, ginger, and raisins, which should be stoned and cut into small pieces. When these dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, stir in the butter, cream, treacle, and well-whisked eggs, and beat the mixture for a few minutes. Dissolve the soda in the vinegar, add it to the dough, and be particular that these latter ingredients are well incorporated with the others; put the cake into a buttered mould or tin, place it in a moderate oven immediately, and bake it from 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours.

Time.-- 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours.
Average cost in 1861, 1s. 6d. (about 7.5p or 15 cents)

If you are interested in trying out more of Mrs Beeton's traditional Victorian Cake and Pudding recipes, including such delights as 'Canary Pudding' (no canaries are harmed in the making of this pudding) 'Herodotus Pudding', and 'Wine or Brandy Sauce for Puddings', you can download an illustrated and highly-recommended 121 page e-book of all her Cake and Pudding Recipes with a short introduction and a preface by the great lady herself, (cost $2.50) from - Mrs Beeton's Cake and Pudding Recipes


  1. hmm sounds yummy... I will try that recipe..

    care to xlinks

  2. Christmas cake? Yum! Yum! Yummy!

    Sorry for the late greeting, but as the wise old men used to say, "Better late than never!"

    "May the Blessings of Christmas bring you Peace and Joy throughout the New Year."

    Greetings and lotta loves from Malaysia.


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