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.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

An even Better Victorian Chocolate Cake Recipe

The garden is full of primroses and my old recipe books have plenty of recipes which use them, but I decided to pick just a few for decoration.  

Chocolate cake is always popular with my family and this one got a big thumbs up from them.    It doesn't come with a list of ingredients a mile long.   Nor does it take any great effort.

I found it in one of my old recipe books:

8 oz flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 oz dark chocolate
8 fl oz milk
5 oz butter
10 oz soft brown sugar - (I didn't have enough, so 4 or 5 oz was dark molasses sugar)
3 eggs
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tsp vanilla extract

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Put the milk and chocolate into a pan and warm them gently, stir when melted and then set aside to cool.

Cream the butter and sugar, adding the beaten eggs a little at a time.   Add flour and eggs alternately.

Mix well and then add the cooled chocolate and milk mixture.

Pour the batter into tins and bake at 180 degrees - 25-30 minutes, approximately.

I used two 8" tins, but you could use smaller ones and make three cakes.

No doubt there will be more to come.


  1. The primrose looks nice against that yummy chocolate. Your family eat well!

  2. Hello Linda, My family eat far too well.
    I have made a decision to continue baking these experimental cakes, but in miniature! Max has expressed concern about his expanding waistline but doesn't want to give up his cake, so just making a four inch one should help... it will also give my brain a good workout as I do the calculations to reduce the quantities of ingredients!

  3. This is my kind of cake...few ingredients. I need look no further than my pantry and fridge, for all the ingredients. I think I will give it a try Friday afternoon. And maybe, I will try to cut the recipe in half.

  4. Elaine, this looks absolutely delectable!!! And I love the photos. Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. Hello Meggie, The family liked the darker notes which the black treacle and molasses sugar introduced - but, truth to tell, they are always happy to sample chocolate cake!

    Hello Linda, Thank you. It was gone in a trice so I think we can call that a success!

  6. When I was small, my mother used to make Chocolate Cakes that looked exactly like that. They were wonderful.

  7. Hello Cro, I have hopes that my grandchildren will have happy memories of the cakes I bake for them! I made them toad-in-the-hole for their tea last night, just as well we don't have a pool!