lakes eggs and cake

Westmorland Pepper Cake

This recipe hales from Kendal and is a distinctive spiced fruit cake rich in ginger, treacle and pepper. What makes it different to other fruit cakes is the cloves, black pepper and generous helping of ginger. We are grateful to Lisa Smith, founder of Ginger Bakers for this recipe which took a historical 19th century recipe, and updated for today’s ovens. It is now included in the Slow Food Movement’s “Forgotten Food 2014”. If you don’t want to make one yourself – we can highly recommend the Ginger Bakers version.
search Cakes and Bakes, Cumbria
Prep Time 20 minutes


  • 85 g raisins
  • 85 g sultanas
  • 20 ml ginger wine
  • 95 g butter softened
  • 70 g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • 45 g black treacle
  • 95 g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 15 g stem ginger finely chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan /Gas 2.
  • Grease an ovenproof dish about 1.5 litres in volume or a baking tin about 20 cm x 13cm
  • Place all dried fruits in a bowl along with the ginger wine.
  • Beat butter until soft and creamy.
  • Add brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time whilst beating.
  • Beat in black treacle.
  • Blend dry ingredients together and add a tablespoon to the fruit mixture, coating well.
  • Add the flour mix to the creamed mixture alternately, mixing between each addition.
  • 10. End with the flour mix, combine well.
  • 11. Pour mixture into a lined loaf tin and bake until a skewer comes out clean.
  • 12. Remove from the tin, cool and enjoy.


We love it with or without butter, but many people also eat it with cheese.
History of today's Westmorland Pepper Cake
The founders of the Slow Food Movement added Westmorland Pepper Cake to their ‘forgotten food programme’ and helped Lisa at Ginger Bakers bring it back to life, developing the 19th-century recipe for today’s world and current palates. Working on different ratios of spices, cloves, and pepper, she finally completed the development of the cake in 2014, and ever since, it has been a staple on their baking plan. Back in the day, the spices came in from the West Indies – Whitehaven harbour was a key trading port. Treacle and spices make for a very moist, rich, and sweet taste, and the crushed pepper and ginger adds a sharpness to the cake. Lisa loves this cake with cheese – as do many fruit cake aficionados, but we love it with a dollop of butter spread generously!