War Cake

War Cake

This is a traditionally made boiled fruit cake, except that it contains no eggs. Sugar was rationed in January 1918, which would have made this recipe more difficult to produce. It has a very moist texture, full of rich, plump fruit making it a perfect un-iced Christmas cake.


300g dark brown sugar
480ml water
500g raisins
1tsp salt
115g margarine or butter
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves (optional)
125g walnuts
300g flour
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) – dissolved in a little water

Oven temperature: 180/350 degrees or Gas mark 2

  1. In a very large saucepan, boil the first five ingredients for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. When nearly cold, add the remaining ingredients and combine well until everything is mixed together.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 20cm round cake tin which has been greased and lined.
  4. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until a skewer, inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool completely before removing the cake from the tin and store in an airtight container.

Variation: You may use cold black tea instead of water.