A fabulous recipe, which is nearly 100 years old – the 1920’s BeRo Christmas Cake was first shared in the 3rd edition
A Simple but Traditional Christmas Cake
The Be Ro 3rd edition was published in 1925, along with instructions how to make almond icing (marzipan) and classic Royal icing too.
You can make this cake in either a round cake tin, or a sqaure cake tin like my mother used to make hers in.
In fact, I used my later mother’s square cake tin for my cake this year (2023), as you can see by some of the the photos I’ve shared.
Before I share the recipe, I would also like to share my thoughts as I made this Christmas cake, not just for last year, but this year too.
I hope you enjoy this simple, rich fruit cake as we have done over the last 40 years, and my parents and grandparents before that.
No posh photos, snapped quickly in the kitchen . Making my Christmas cakes today, and the same words that I wrote last year, still stand this year…….
…….Hello mum – I know you’re not here anymore, in the earthly sense; but you’re always in my heart and my thoughts.
Today I’m making your traditional Christmas cake – the one that you and nanny made every year, based on the BeRo recipe.
I’ve measured all the ingredients using the old salter scales you had, and using the metric weights I bought you for your birthday, because you hated trying to convert lbs and ozs to grams.
I’ve creamed the sugar and butter together for at least 5 minutes as you taught me to do – until light and fluffy.
I’ve added the flour and eggs bit by bit, so the mixture doesn’t curdle – hearing your voice telling me not to be too impatient.
The brandy soaked dried fruit has been added, and gosh, it smells good.
The cake tin has been triple lined and is ready for the fruity batter to be tipped in – I can’t wait to lick the spoon and scrape out the bowl.
I’ve made sure that the middle of the cake is slightly lower than the outside of the cake – so it will rise in an even way……I could almost feel your presence as I licked the wooden spoon afterwords!
There’s a little “tester” cake too – just like you used to do mum; it’s in an old Fray Bentos pie tin lined with butter paper – just like you you used to do. We’ll have that for our Sunday tea tray supper. I can’t wait.
The cakes are in the oven now, and the house in infused with the smell of brandy, citrus and spice – it’s just like I remember when I was little at home……the memories come flooding back.
I miss you mum – every day – but I’m happy and content to follow in your culinary footsteps, to keep the traditions going, and I’ll make sure Hannah does too.
More Christmas & Thanksgiving Recipes
- Bubble & Squeak Christmas Scones
- Christmas in a Jar – Pickled Shallots
- Christmas Sausage, Sage and Bacon Stuffing Loaf
Recipe for 1920’s BeRo Christmas Cake
- 12 ozs BeRo Self Raising Flour
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 4 ozs ground almonds
- 8ozs currants
- 8ozs sultanas
- 8ozs raisins
- 4ozs glace cherries
- 4ozs mixed citrus peel
- 8ozs butter
- 8ozs caster sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten with
- 8 tablespoons milk
- Mix the fruit.
- Mix flour, spice, ground almonds.
- Beat butter and sugar to a cream in a warm bowl.
- Beat eggs and milk together.
- Stir in (alternately, a little at a time) the flour mixture and eggs and milk, with the butter and sugar.
- Add the fruit last.
- MIX THOROUGHLY. If a darker cake is desired, add 1 teaspoon gravy browning.
- Use a large round cake tin (8" in diameter) lined wirth greased paper.
- Bake about FOUR HOURS, the first hour in a moderate oven (325F to 350F, Gas Mark 3-4) and then a slow oven (250F to 300F, Gas Mark 1-2)
We never used Gravy Browning, as shown in step 7. Use 1 tablespoon of black treacle for a darker cake.
Oven temperatures in Celius: 160C to 170C and 120C to 150C, in step 9.
For a darker and richer cake, use soft brown sugar instead of caster sugar.
My mother always used a square tin, which is fine for this recipe.
We tend to use a 7" round or square tin, and bake a small "tester or taster cake" with the excess cake batter.
In place of 8 tablespoons of milk, use 4 tablespoons of milk mixed with 4 tablespoons of brandy, whisky or rum.
Allow to cool in the cake tin before lifting out and placing in a cake tin with a fitted lid. Make several holes with a skewer all over the cake and “feed” the cake with brandy (or whisky or rum) – pouring it down the holes. Repeat this every week until just before you want to marzipan and ice the cake.
Smooth the top with the back of a metal spoon and before baking in the pre-heated oven.
Ingredients in METRIC:
100g glace cherries, halved
100g cut candied peel
350g self-raising white flour, sifted
100g ground almonds
4 large free-range eggs
75mls brandy mixed with 75mls whole milk, OR 150mls milk
225g butter, unsalted
Nutrition InformationYield 30 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 227Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 41mgSodium 217mgCarbohydrates 35gFiber 2gSugar 22gProtein 4g