• Imagining History

Bake a WW1 Trench Cake - Learning Activities for Kids

Updated: a day ago


The recipe for this World War One Trench Cake shows how truly inventive people had become in the name of morale-lifting home-baked treats. It was designed with a specific purpose – to be sent by post to the soldiers fighting in the trenches.


Instead of fats, like butter, they used dried fruits - this helped keep the cake moist for a long time which was perfect for the long journey to the front line. The recipe included very little flour (a rationed item) – this helped to keep it small and dense, ideal for fitting in a parcel to post to the trenches. And finally, you won’t find any eggs in this recipe - they substituted vinegar for this luxury item to help the cake rise.


Why not make a World War One Trench Cake for yourself? Check out the original recipe and our own easy baking instructions below:



Original World War One Trench Cake Recipe


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb flour (about 2 cups)

  • 4 oz margarine

  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

  • 1/4 pint of milk

  • 3 oz brown sugar

  • 3 oz cleaned currants

  • 2 teaspoons cocoa

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

  • grated lemon rind

Method:


Grease a cake tin. Rub margarine into the flour in a basin.

Add the dry ingredients. Mix well. Add the soda dissolved in vinegar and milk. Beat well. Turn into the tin. Bake in a moderate oven for about two hours.


Yes, pretty vague instructions, we know. But don’t panic! We’ve put together a much clearer, modernised version that might help you out:


Bake Your Own Trench Cake


Ingredients:

Nope, sadly we weren't sponsored by Asda for this bake!
  • 225g plain flour

  • 120g margarine

  • 90g brown sugar

  • 90g currants (we used sultanas)

  • 2 tsp cocoa powder

  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg

  • ½ tsp ground ginger

  • Grated Zest of 1 Lemon

  • ¼ pint milk

  • 1 tsp vinegar

  • ½ tbsp bicarbonate of soda


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/350F/180C.


2. Grease an 8 inch cake tin and line with baking parchment.







3. Add the flour and margarine into a mixing bowl. Using your fingers, gently rub together the flour and margarine until they have the appearance of fine breadcrumbs.






4. Add the dry ingredients; brown sugar, currants, cocoa powder, nutmeg, ginger and lemon zest, and mix to combine.








5. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.




6. Add the milk/vinegar/bicarb mix to the dry ingredients and mix well to form a thick batter.






7. Pour the batter into the cake tin and level out the mixture with a palette knife.







8. Bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 1 hour or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.







9. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin and placing on a rack to cool completely.







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