This is where I note my efforts as I try to recreate some old recipes. Most are taken from my small collection of handwritten recipe books which date from the late 1700's to around 1922. I also have a collection of old tatty old recipe books, well thumbed and heavily splashed from years of use. I love them all!

The old-fashioned very stylised handwriting writing is sometimes difficult to decipher, measurements and cooking instructions are minimal, no tin sizes given. Luckily I enjoy a challenge. Just to complicate things I cook and bake on my wood-fired Rayburn, which can be... unpredictable.

I suspect this blog is less about the food and more about my passion for these lovely old books and the wonderful women who wrote them.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Old English Cider Cake

I couldn't resist trying this old recipe.   Two reasons really,  I like the idea that it is an English recipe, and I like cider.   Mind you, the recipe only called for a teacupful of cider, which left two thirds of a bottle going spare...

...I managed to resist, otherwise I would have ended up feeling like this.

Cider Cake

Beat 4 oz butter and 4 oz sugar to a cream.   Add two well beaten eggs and 4oz  flour sifted with 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda and half a grated nutmeg.    Pour one teacupful of cider, beaten to a froth, and mix thoroughly.   Stir in another 4 oz of flour and mix well.   Bake for 45 minutes or until it is cooked.

Once again, minimal instructions about baking - I baked it at 180 degrees and it took about 55 minutes before I was completely happy with it.  You know your own oven.

Don't worry, it made a standard-sized cake, the serving platter is enormous.  I bought it in Ireland several years ago; it reminds me of the many happy holidays we spent in and around Crookhaven, West Cork.   Surely one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I couldn't wait to sample it.   I was intrigued by the use of nutmeg, but it really worked.   For the sake of experimentation, I'll use cinnamon next time, see which we prefer.   The cake was voted a success and didn't hang around long.   I will also experiment with the cider, find the perfect one for us.

It was exceptionally nice when served with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

I have had to increase the amount of exercise I do each day - all these baking experiments are having a ruinous effect.   Still, what a way to go!

Added 18 March 2016:   This cake is rich and moist,  keeps well and the flavours develop.


  1. sounds lovely. I must resist as since the accident I have put some weight on. Must cut back. but at Easter this maybe the cake I take to the family gathering. And it wouldnt be right not to try and cook it a few times to make sure I have made it right ;) lol yum yum nom nom

    1. Hi Sol, Luckily, I find cake much easier to resist than fresh, crusty bread, that really would see me succumbing to temptation!

      I hope you are going from strength to strength and that the crutches are a thing of the past? It takes a lot of hard work to recover fitness levels but you will get there. Enjoy the family gathering.

  2. Oh hello cake and hello lovely blog.

    1. Hello Dom, It is sometimes a little daunting, having so few instructions, but it is also part of the fun of exploring these recipes. I am in awe of the cooks who produced such marvellous food, relying on those old ranges and their instincts. The hardest part is deciphering some of the writing - as well as trying to let common sense and instinct guide me. There will doubtless be a few disasters along the way.