Monday, 26 March 2012

poor soldier's cake..

this is a cake i started making when my husband was in the army in greece..i'd make a couple of loaves when i knew he was staying overnight in the barracks or when he went on bivouac..he used to share slices of it with the soldiers doing sentry duty who like most of the others in the barracks were away from home for many many months and they relished a piece of home made cake particularly in winter when the temperature would get to minus 15 deg c..

as a novice cook i started making the cake as per the instructions in the iconic 'green and gold cookery book'*'s a funny little book that was first published in 1923..the copy i own is a 34th edition and there have been several editions published since..the recipes in the book were put together to raise funds for king's college in adelaide by a group of four women..apparently some of the recipes were obtained through members of the school community but many must have been sourced through some other means because many of the recipes have the name of the person who contributed the recipe and the town/city where they lived and some like my maternal grandmother lived in ardrossan 150 kms away from adelaide and many others lived in other states..

i haven't made this cake for years but my daughter is coming over tomorrow to do some renovation work with me and i thought, for old times sake, it would be really nice to have this cake with our morning and afternoon tea..over time i have tweaked the recipe a lot..fairly soon after i started making it i added an egg to the batter and then i decided walnuts would be a nice addition and i used to vary the spices according to my's alterations mean the cake is not quite as poor these days..

poor soldier's cake..poor photo!

poor soldier's cake


1 cup raw sugar
1 cup of strong tea
115 gms butter
250 gms chopped dried figs
1/2 cup walnuts cut medium
2 tbs cumquat marmalade
150 gms plain flour
150 gms self raising flour
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sodium bicarbonate
1 egg beaten


~put sugar, tea, butter, figs, marmalade, and spices on to heat and let it just come to the boil
~take off the heat and add the sodium bicarbonate
~allow to cool and add egg and vanilla 
~heat oven to 175 deg c
~add sieved flours and walnuts and mix well
~bake for 60 mins or until browned and cooked when tested with a cake skewer

* recipe for original 'poor soldier's cake'


one cup sugar
one cup water
half cup butter
1/2 pound raisons
one teaspoon carbonate soda
one teaspoon ground cloves or other spice.


~put all ingredients into a saucepan and let just come to the boil
~allow to cool and add sufficient flour to make a thin batter (about a cup and a half flour)
~bake in a moderate oven for one hour

i hope your week is happy, productive and safe..x 


  1. I love all the ingredients, soon to make!

  2. This sounds lovely! I'd use my lime and ginger marmalade and some Earl Grey Tea :)

    1. thanks for visiting intolerant chef..that marmalade and tea would be's the sort of recipe that can be adapted easily to whatever is available or personal preference..