Recipe of the Week: Trench Fruitcake

The following recipe for Trench Fuitcake kindly comes to us from SurvivalBlog reader Allie E. This recipe dates to World War I, when English and Scottish families often mailed parcels with fruit cakes to their sons, grandsons, husbands, and nephews serving in the trenches of France and Belgium. Hence, the name: “Trench Fruitcake” or just “Trench Cake.”  This makes a great storage food treat, to break up the monotony of other stored foods. Some tinned fruitcakes have been eaten after 10 years of storage with no significant change in flavor or consistency — although of course their nutritive value diminishes, over time.

  • 4 cups of mixed dried fruit (traditionally, 2 to 3 cups of that should be golden raisins)
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 (400 g) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 splash of brandy or rum (optional)
  1. Put the fruit and water in a pot, and bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer uncovered, two minutes. Cover and cool to room temperature.
  3. While the fruit cools, line a deep baking tin (square, rectangular, or round) with baking parchment paper. Bring the paper to ½ inch above the edge of the tin.
  4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F..
  5. To the pot of fruit and water, stir in the condensed milk and egg.
  6. Next, slowly add the flour, and any optional liquor.
  7. Thoroughly mix the batter. Spoon it into the parchment-lined tin.
  8. Bake for two hours (or until a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted into the cake), at 300 F.

Traditionally, fruitcakes and trench cakes were stored wrapped in cloth soaked in brandy, and then that in turn in a sealed tin. In the 21st Century we’d of course add a layer of plastic inside the tin–such as a food grade Ziplock bag. If stored for long periods of time, then the tin can be reopened and the brandy on the cloth can be renewed — at least once a year.

Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? In this weekly recipe column, we place emphasis on recipes that use long term storage foods, recipes for wild game, dutch oven and slow cooker recipes, and any that use home garden produce. If you have any favorite recipes, then please send them via e-mail. Thanks!