Home Baking

A lot of my posts end up mentioning food and I have touched on baking before but this one is all about the cakes mums baked in the 1950s in Britain.

All the cakes in our house were baked by my mum. ‘Shop cake’ was a luxury and was reserved for when visitors came to the house. Every week, usually on a Friday or Saturday, Mum would bake enough cakes, buns, scones and tarts to last a week. I can still remember the difference in taste and texture between day old Victoria sponge and a slice which was five or six days old. But food wasn’t wasted in those post-war days! Dry scones could be split and toasted. Sponge cake which was too dry to be enjoyed was used in trifle. Stale fruit cake was used in one of my favourites – Cabinet Pudding.

In Britain in the 1950s, we hadn’t heard of chocolate brownies or cup cakes – we had chocolate cake and fairy cakes. The word gateau hadn’t yet arrived – we had cake or pudding. We had apple tarts rather than apple pies and flapjacks not muesli bars. Cakes never had any sort of cream in them. This was because few houses here at that time had fridges. Sponge cakes had jam or butter icing in the middle. For special occasions both! Sugar was sprinkled on the top. Chocolate cake had melted chocolate spread on top.

Here are some of the things commonly made at the time. The photos are mostly modern – not many people took photographs of their weekly baking session – and as always, come courtesy of the Internet. (If anyone objects to me using one of their pictures, get in touch and I will remove it.)

cake What happened to butterfly cakes? I haven’t seen one in years!

rock buns        jam tarts

Rock buns and jam tarts – two of the first things I baked as a child.

choc cake   sponge

grannys-scottish-scones.jpg                 medium-292-5382-fruitcake

Sponge cake, chocolate cake, scones and fruit cake – regularly baked by my mum.

maids of honour         swiss roll

Maids of Honour – a pastry base, some jam with a sponge topping and a Swiss roll.

apple-pie-702719__340                 lemon meringue

treacle tart                   apple-crumble-pie-718029_960_720

Here are some baked treats we used to have for dessert – the always known as pudding.       Fruit tart – apple, rhubarb, gooseberry, blackberry etc, depending on what was in season, lemon meringue pie, treacle tart and fruit crumble with one of the fruits I’ve just mentioned.



7 thoughts on “Home Baking

  1. Oh, happy memories! I haven’t seen a butterfly cake in ages either. We called the little fairy cakes “queen cakes” – don’t ask me why.

    I remember sponge cakes as always having raspberry jam and fresh whipped cream in them, and a dusting of icing sugar on top. They were a treat – mainly for birthday parties in our house. The rest of the cream would have been used on meringues, and also eaten with jelly and icecream – other birthday party favourites. The traditional Kiwi pudding is, of course, the pavlova. But like meringues, pretty hard work without an electric beater!

    One of my favourite puddings was baked jam roll – I haven’t seen one in years. And another was a “self-saucing” chocolate pudding. It went into the oven looking like a chocolate cake, and came out spongy with a crust, sitting in its own chocolate sauce.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A total nostalgia hit! My mother (teacher, 6 children) baked large quantities for a large family, and super-fast. Nothing fancy, all delicious. My mother-in-law (two children, home dressmaker) astonished me by baking items with triple layers and triple processes, like Louise cakes.

    Liked by 1 person

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