A recipe for Christmas Cake (Mrs Birr)

I am thrilled to post this recipe. A bit out of season, but it was a request for someone who had read my last post. How happy am I that someone actually read what I wrote? Writing is a solitary act, but published or not, I think we all write to be read, even if it’s just by ourselves in a journal, but in this case, an actual person someone out there in the internet land read my post.

So for Carol, here’s the recipe for the fruitcake in the picture. There are no instructions. The writer wrote the ingredients down in her neat hand, like a grocery list. She didn’t have to write the method as the recipe was never intended to be used by anyone other then herself, and she knew how to make fruitcake as most women did at one time. Fruitcakes were used for wedding cakes; and before weddings became a billion dollar industry, they were held at home and usually someone in the family or a lady down the street made the wedding cake. The top of which was kept for the couple to have on their first anniversary.

The recipe calls for “1 doz pulletts” Pullets are small eggs from a hen that is less than a year old.

Christmas Cake -Mrs Birr (this is the recipe as it was written in the notebook)

1ib butter

1lb currants

2 lb sultanas

1/2 lb mixed peel

1 lb fruit sugar

1 lb cherries

candied pineapple

1 doz pulletts

1 grated apple

1 lb flour  (4 sifted cups)

2 tbsp. molasses

2 tbsp. grape juice

1/2 tsp. salt

275 degree oven      3 1/2 to 4 hrs.

Mothers Fruit Cake (another recipe from the same spiral note book)

1 lb large raisins

1 lb small raisins

1/4 lb mixed pee

1/4 lb dates

1/2 lb almonds

1/2 lb butter

1/2 lb brown sugar

6 eggs,

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 tsp. soda

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp each, nutmeg, cinnamon and mace

(There aren’t even any baking instructions for this recipe,  she probably grew up making this recipe with her Mum)

I’d like to think that the women who collected the recipes for this little book was the lady down the street who made everyone’s wedding cakes and that’s why she had a couple recipes for fruitcake in her book. Obviously, I’ll never know, but what I do know that even though our lives are so different, and not only in place and time, we are connected in the present by her spiral notebook and every recipe that I cook or bake from it.






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