A young girl eats a cupcake

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Let’s face it: cake is cool again.

But at the British Red Cross, we’ve been using cake to help change people’s lives for over a century.

After all, the quickest way to someone’s heart is through the stomach.

If you’re looking for ideas for your own tasty bake, here’s a delicious recipe crafted by some British Red Cross volunteers during the First World War.

They handed out this cake to soldiers on the front line, to line their stomachs and boost their spirits.

And now you can recreate it in just four easy steps.


Hundred-year old cake recipe: we've deciphered the handwriting, so you don't have to.

Hundred-year old cake recipe: we’ve deciphered the handwriting, so you don’t have to.

Recipe for Red Cross Cake

1. Put the following ingredients into a  saucepan:

  • 1 cupful of brown sugar
  • 1 oz water and 2 oz seeded raisins
  • One third lard or margarine (3 ozs)
  • One quarter of a grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoonful of cinnamon
  • 1 oz ginger
  • A pinch of salt.

2. Boil together for three minutes.

3. When cool, add 1 teaspoonful of carbonate of soda, dissolved in hot water, and 2 cups of flour, in which half a teaspoonful of baking powder has been sifted. Stir well.

4. Put mixture in a greased tin and bake in a moderate oven (around 350-375 Fahrenheit or 180-190 Celsius) for one-and-a-quarter hours.

There you have it. A century on, Red Cross cake is still as scrumptious as it was back then. But don’t just take our word for it – get your oven gloves out and give it a go.