The Icing on the Cake

If you made the Wartime Christmas Cake here is a recipe from 1942 to cover it with “marzipan”, note the use of our old friend the potato. No real icing, sugar was rationed.

Wartime Marzipan Paste

4 tablespoons mashed potato
1 teaspoon white of egg
1 tablespoon sugar
Few drops of almond essence

Mix all ingredients well together. Spread top of cake while still hot with honey or a little blackberry jelly, press marzipan out to size of cake, put on top and press into shape. Pinch up round the edges and score with a fork.
Put back into oven and brown up. While still hot sprinkle a circle of grated chocolate in the centre.



‘Ey up, sit thissen dahn an’ tell me abaht it.

Parkin was a dish that originated in Yorkshire, It has a moist texture and spicy flavour. This recipe is from our 1942 recipe book.

4ozs medium oatmeal
1 made-up egg
2ozs cleaned bran
1oz wholewheat flour
I cup black treacle (or treacle and syrup mixed)
3ozs cooking fat
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4ozs seedless raisins (or sultanas)
teaspoon ground ginger
1ozs sugar
teaspoon mixed spice

Melt fat and syrup slightly. Mix dry ingredients and
stir in fat, treacle and beaten egg. Put into a greased tin
and bake in a very slow oven for about two hours.


1942 Wartime Christmas Cake

Christmas is almost here and nows the time to make the traditional Christmas Cake. Christmas in 1942 was very different from present the recipe below demonstrates. So put your headscarf on and pop down to International  Stores and join the queue to get the ingredients for this festive cake. Don’t forget your coupon book!

On this day in 1942: In violation of a 1940 armistice, Germany invades Vichy France, following French Admiral François Darlan’s agreement to an armistice with the Allies in North Africa.


  • 10oz wholewheat flour
  • 2oz seedless raisins or sultanas
  • 4oz chopped seeded raisins or dates
  • 4 oz cooking fat
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 2 large tablespoons black treacle
  • teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (level
  • cup milk
  • teaspoon almond essence
  • teaspoon ground ginger


Rub fat into flour, add all dry ingredients except soda, and mix well. Dissolve soda in milk, add treacle to dry ingredients, and then milk and soda and almond essence, and beat all together very thoroughly. Line a baking tin with greased paper, place mixture in and cook in very slow oven for 2-½ hours.


Uncooked Chocolate Cake

Uncooked Chocolate Cake (not as bad as it sounds)

Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Cake

2 oz margarine
2 oz sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 oz cocoa powder
vanilla essence
6 oz crisp breadcrumbs
(To make the breadcrumbs, bake some stale pieces of
bread in the oven until crispy. Let the bread cool, and then
place it between two pieces of greaseproof paper, or a plastic bag, and
crush with a rolling pin.)
Put the margarine, sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan.
Heat gently until the margarine has melted, then remove
from heat. Stir in the cocoa powder, a few drops of vanilla
essence and the crisp breadcrumbs and mix well. Grease
a seven inch cake tin with margarine paper, then pour in
the mixture. Allow to stand for 4—5 hours, then turn out
carefully, nowadays is best done by leaving in a refrigerator for several hours.
For the icing, mix together 2 teaspoons of melted
margarine, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon
golden syrup and a few drops of vanilla essence or leave out the cocoa and use “hundreds and thousands”.