Georgian cakes and puddings

Have recently made the most delicious ginger and lemon cake from a modern, detailed, step by step recipe on the internet it seemed an opportune time to see what the recipes for cakes and puddings were like in the early 1800s. The recipe books seem to give ample instruction regarding quantity, but as to what to do with those quantities having weighed them out, is, in some instances sadly lacking; they have the most spectacular ability to go horribly wrong.

A Country Kitchen by William Collins. V&A Collection.
A Country Kitchen by William Collins. V&A Collection.

This first recipe for gingerbread bears little relationship to the one made the other day!

To make gingerbread

Take half a pound of flour dried, and half a pound of brown sugar dried and two ounces of ginger fresh pounded, three pounds of treacle, one pound of orange-peel cut small, two ounces of carvie seeds, if you like it, one pound and a half of butter melted and all well kneaded together, rolled out, cut it into cakes, baked very hard but not turned. It should be a rather quick good oven. A little citron may be added also, if you like it.

Dutch Cake

Two pound of flour, eight eggs, one pint and a half of milk, and one pound and a quarter of butter, half a pound of pounded almonds, half a pound of citron, one pound of currants and some yeast. It is very good for a cake and must stand before the fire to rise.

Dutch Waffles

Take four eggs, beat well with half a pound of flour; melt a quarter of a pound of butter in a pint of milk; let the milk and butter stand till they are almost cold, then mix them with the flour and eggs with one spoonful of yeast and a little salt; be sure to beat them well; let it stand three or four hours to rise before you put it in the waffle iron, and bake them on a quick fire.

almond cheesecake

A custard pudding

Take the yolks and whites of four eggs, well beat up with a spoonful of flour, a little nutmeg, about half a pint of milk and sugar to your taste, boiled in a small china bowl. The sauce – white wine and butter.

To make sponge biscuits

Take the weight of nine eggs in double refined sugar, beat and sifted; break the whites into a pan and beat them up to a froth, then put in the yolks and a little lemon peel, grated; put in the sugar and mix them well together. Then take the weight of five eggs, and mix it with the rest; put them in paper shapes into the oven: let the oven be no hotter than you can bear your hand in it.

And, when you’ve finished all the baking, time to put your feet up and have a well earned rest!


The new practice of cookery, pastry, baking, and preserving: being the country housewife’s best friend

Feature image – Kitchen Interior, John Cranch, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery


14 thoughts on “Georgian cakes and puddings

  1. openidname

    Three *pounds* of treacle to just half a pound of flour and half a pound of brown sugar? Isn’t that pretty much . . . still just treacle?


  2. I made the Dutch Cake today. Since the recipe has no method to speak of here is what worked for me:

    I replaced the chipped orange and citron with mixed peel and used two sachets of dried yeast. I melted the butter and warmed the milk. I put the flour, almonds and yeast in the bowl then added the eggs, butter and milk gradually.
    Because it had yeast in I was expecting a bread type dough but it was a thick batter. I mixed in the fruit, stirring it well. Then put it in a warm oven to rise. After an hour there was no sign of any rise but after two hours it was in danger of overflowing the bowl.
    I half filled four two-pound loaf tins and then baked at 180 degrees centigrade in a fan oven. After 35 minutes they were golden brown and a skewer came out clean.

    After cooling on a wire rack I cut a slice, not knowing quite what to expect. It was a very light and very tasty fruit cake. You do notice the lack of sugar in the recipe but the citrus comes through strongly. If I was making it again I would probably half the quantities.


    1. All Things Georgian

      Oh Wow, how fantastic. We’ve just seen the pictures on social media, such a shame we can’t taste it. It looks brilliant and thank you so much for sharing your take on the recipe – they were so often somewhat short on detail. This one is definitely one to try, hope it tastes as good as it looks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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