Vintage Recipe – Eggless Christmas Cake, 1941
As the mother of a little girl who has a whole array of food allergies, including eggs, the eggless baking of the Second World War is a rather useful inspiration. Rationing meant only one egg a week for an adult, and it seems a bit of a waste to use it in a cake if there’s other ways around it.
Here’s an eggless Christmas Cake recipe, from the Berwickshire News in 1941. The moisture and binding properties are replaced by milk and golden syrup, and vinegar is added to help the rise. Vinegar is also a key ingredient in the vegan “wacky cake”, which originated during the Depression, a version of which the lovely cook at my daughter’s nursery makes for her every Monday.
Christmas Cake (without eggs)
10 oz flour
4 oz margarine
4 oz sugar (brown or caster)
8 oz currants
8 oz sultanas
4 oz raisins (chopped)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp. golden syrup
1/2 tsp mixed spice
3 level tsp Royal baking powder
1 dessertspoonful vinegar
1/2 pint milk
Peel on 1 orange
- Clean and prepare the fruit
- Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and spice together, and rub in the margarine.
- Chop the orange peel very finely.
- Add all dry ingredients and mix well.
- Bind with the syrup and the milk mixed together and slightly warmed.
- Lastly, stir in the vinegar.
- Turn at once into a greased and lined cake tin (best size 7 ins.) and bake in a moderately slow oven (Regulo 3 or 325 degrees) for 3 1/2 – 4 hours.
- 2 oz of chopped nuts may be added to the cake if desired.
- Blanched and split almonds may be used to decorate the cake and should be added after the cake has been in the over 15 minutes.