Pepper Cake

Traditionally served in farmhouses at Christmas, this rich, solid cake was made specially to be given to visitors and carol singers, as well as to the family.


  • sticks (180 g) butter or ¾ cup margarine
  • 3 cups (360 g) self-raising flour
  • ½ cup (120 g) soft brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 cup (360 g) black treacle
  • ¾ cup (120 g) chopped mixed candied peel (use raisins if preferred)


Grease a 9 inch (23 cm) cake tin and line it with greaseproof paper, standing 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the top of the tin.

Rub the butter into the flour until it has a breadcrumb consistency. Mix in the sugar and all the spices. Beat in the eggs and brandy. Then add the treacle and peel, beating well. The mixture should be dark and fairly slack.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake at 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4) for 1 hour. Test with a skewer. If it does not come out clean, bake for a further 10 minutes.