100 YEAR FAMILY CHRISTMAS CAKE RECIPE
In September 2020, when I was working on the new improved website, I was also working in a Facebook group I admin, and organising a bake-together for making an authentic and traditional British Christmas Cake. The group had/has members from all over the world and so was a nice idea to get everyone involved, as well as trying something new. Unfortunately, I lost some content in the site transfer, so I am writing this again as it’s a very important part of the Christmas Cake bake-together activity. So let me tell you about the recipe chosen and why.
THE IDEAL TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS CAKE RECIPE
There are several very good reasons for using my friend Christine’s recipe (known as CJ in our Facebook group Great British Bake Off Fans). Firstly, the recipe originates from baking book Be-Ro. This book has been around for over 100 years and used by so many people without fail. Secondly, Christine’s family have been using this Christmas Cake recipe for at least 3 generations. 100 years of passing down the Christmas Cake recipe, and many a Christmas celebrated with the families favourite sweet treat. This seemed the ideal recipe to share out, and add to the internet, to preserve it past the hundred years. A true heritage Christmas cake recipe, it is also a very straight forward recipe. It just takes time to prepare, but it’s that time, that actually makes it’s ‘not just a fruit cake’. That and of course the love, time and energy put into making it. Although an old recipe, the decoration choice can be modern and lends to any style or theme you might have for this Christmas. (See photo of Christine’s Great-grandmother, Grandmother & mother above).
THE HISTORY OF THE 100 YEAR FAMILY CHRISTMAS CAKE RECIPE
Let Christine tell you more about the Christmas Cake recipe in her own words, accompanied by some great old photos of the generations who were lucky enough to have made or eaten this cake.
"So my Great Grandma baked this cake for the first time in 1923. Previous to this, she only ever made a Christmas pudding as it was too costly to make both. But she, my Great Grandfather and their 8 children took over the running of a coal merchants, a stables, a fish and chip shop and a grocers in early 1923. So with the extra money coming in, she decided to bake both a pudding and a cake that year, as a treat. "
"My Great Grandma purchased her first Be Ro cookbook and followed the recipe. She added three extra ingredients. Her love for her family, her joy at being able to bake such extravagant things and the third extra ingredient I can’t divulge. It’s a family secret and it will go to the grave with me!"
"Be Ro is a brand of flour that was made in my home city. They produced their first cookbook in 1923 and still continue to produce them, and the flour, to this day. The recipe and all of the cookbooks have been handed down through the generations from my Great Grandma to my Nan, then my Mum and then me. My Nan taught me to bake at a very young age and by the age of about 8/9 I was baking on my own and made my first Christmas cake. After that, it was my absolute joy to make our family’s Christmas cake every year. Each member of the family would come into the kitchen, stir the mix three times and make a wish. This was another tradition that was handed down. "
"The recipe has barely changed over the years. As you can see, it was always made with self raising flour as this was the only flour that Be Ro used to produce. Then in the late 80’s, they changed the recipe to use plain flour. I only ever made it once this way and much preferred the open texture of self raising flour. They added a note to it now though about using different flour. The other differences are the addition of grams to the recipe rather than just ounces and also the change in conversion from 8 ounces = 200g to 8 ounces = 225g in the late 80’s."
"As you can probably tell, this recipe is very precious to me and I’m so happy to see so many of you bringing it into your lives and using it at this very special time of year. I hope you can all make your own traditions with it. I’ve added some photos of my Great Grandparents and their shops so you can see how they lived and how much having something like a Christmas cake and a Christmas pudding would have meant to them. There’s also photos of the recipe over the years. I hope you enjoyed this little personal trip through my cake history. Much love. CJ xxx " Christine Jackson, 2020.
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PHOTOS OF BE-RO CHRISTMAS CAKE RECIPE OVER THE YEARS
To view the various photos of the recipes over the years, click the arrows or circles, or swipe left and right.
For the recipe in detail, go to the Traditional Christmas Cake Recipe. There is also a few parts of the process on YouTube. Click to view the Preparing The Fruit For The Christmas Cake video, Preparing the Fruit – Part 1, or the Making The Christmas Cake Video. Alternatively, view the Christmas Cake Bake-together page
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