What are my special features?
Westmorland Pepper Cake or (Kendal Pepper Cake) is a distinctive spiced fruitcake hailing from Westmorland in Cumbria. The recipe is based upon a basic fruit cake including dried currants and raisins in the batter, and the unusual addition of spices and cracked black pepper. Pepper and black treacle lend the cake its distinctive taste and moist texture, and the spices typically used are ground cloves and ginger.
What is my history?
During the 18th and early 19th centuries the West Cumberland coast, particularly the port at Whitehaven, was the hub of trade in the North of England and on the West coast of the UK. Regular imports from the far reaches of the Empire, such as pepper and other spices, as well as molasses, rum and sugar, greatly influenced the cuisine of the area and were bought in exchange for the local wool. Other examples of this can be seen in local specialities such as Cumberland sausages, Cumberland Rum butter, and Grasmere gingerbread, which all include exotic ingredients brought in by Britain’s vast trading network.
Why am I forgotten?
The product has a strong link to the surrounding counties and local history. Combining elements of traditional British cooking with imported spices, it is a reminder of the historic ties Britain had with its Empire. With only one producer currently baking Westmorland Pepper Cake and preparing to launch sales, the lack of knowledge about this cake means it is in danger of being forgotten and consigned to the history books. After asking locals about the cake and finding that the older generations had fond memories of their families baking it, this avid baker dug deep into the cook book archives at the local library and found several recipes. After experimenting with quantities, she believes she has hit upon a recipe that is an authentic recreation of the original.
Don’t lose me…cook me!