top of page

Bake a WW1 Trench Cake - Learning Activities for Kids

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

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


  • 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


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


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


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.



If you liked what you just read, why not consider donating to support the blog? It's thanks to awesome people like you that we are able to continue creating content for this History Resource.

Help keep these resources free by donating today! Any amount is greatly appreciated.


Further Reading:


bottom of page