Churchill's fruit cake

This cake was one of Winston Churchill's favourites. It originates from Churchill’s long-standing cook, Georgina Landemare who catered for Winston during the war at Downing Street and then at his family home, Chartwell in Kent.

We've created our version of the fruit cake, inspired by Mrs Landemare's original recipe which Churchill would have enjoyed.

Cakes and bakes
Fruit cake
  • Preparation time 20 minutes (prep. time)
  • Cooking time 1.5-2 hours (cooking time)
  • Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 225g butter
  • 170g dark brown sugar
  • 285g self-raising flour
  • 280g dried mixed fruit
  • 2 cups strong black tea
  • 5 eggs
  • 110g halved glacé cherries
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 1tbsp black treacle (optional)

 

Equipment

  • 9" springform cake tin

Method

  1. Soak the dried fruit in tea, preferably overnight to allow most of the tea to be absorbed.
  2. Preheat oven to 150 degrees and line and grease a 9" springform cake tin.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl, until almost white. Remember to scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to cream together.
  4. Gradually beat the eggs into the mixture, remember to add a little flour to stop the mixture from splitting or curdling.
  5. Fold in the flour and add the mixed spice to the mixture.
  6. Add in the mixed fruit and glacé cherries and continue to fold together. If there is a little bit of leftover tea in your mixed fruit add it into the cake mixture. However, if there's a lot of tea remaining, drain the fruit before adding in.
  7. Continue to fold and stir, whilst adding in the black treacle.
  8. Once completely mixed together, scrape the mixture into the cake tin and leave to bake for 2 hours.
  9. To check that the cake is cooked, insert a skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean the cake is cooked through.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  11. Finish with a light dusting of caster sugar.

Churchill and Mrs Landermare

Mrs Landemare cooked for the Churchill family from 1939 throughout the duration of the war, until she retired in 1954.

During the war period, meals were often created using the most basic of ingredients as part of the rationing era.

According to Mrs Landemare, Churchill was an 'incredibly fussy eater' but she was often able to produce something delicious that satisfied his appetite for ‘simple’ British food.

Such was the impact of her cooking, on VE night Churchill actually thanked Mrs Landemare for her efforts by saying that he 'could not have managed throughout the war without her cooking'.

Hungry for more recipes?

From our kitchens to yours, why not recreate all that you love about a visit to a National Trust café? From hearty mains to light snacks and naughty treats there's something for every mood.