We have $162,320 to go in our Fall Campaign. Every penny is used to strengthen the Church. See details!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Catholic Recipe: Wiltshire Whitsuntide Cake


  • 3/4 lb small tart green gooseberries
  • 5 elderflower blossoms*
  • 1/2 lb plain wholemeal flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 oz butter
  • 6 oz pale muscovado sugar
  • Demerara sugar
  • Flowers & leaves to garnish
  • Details

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 2 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: • • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin: England

For Pentecost, or Whitsunday as it is known in Great Britain, everyone ate the food he had brought and purchased "Whitsun ale."

The Whitsun Ales, so called by the people, had their origin in the agapae or love feasts of the early Christians, and the drink was made by the churchwardens who bought the malt and brewed it in advance. The profits of these Ales were given to the poor, according to a Christian rule that all profits would be spent in alms.

In addition to ale, custards, cheese cakes, and huge roasts were typical of this feast in England, and another favored dish was Gooseberry Pudding. The following Peasant Soup is another old English recipe for this feastday.


*Note: A handful of sweet geranium or lemon balm leaves may be substituted for elderflower blossoms if desired.

Top and tail the gooseberries into a mixing bowl. Add the finely chopped leaves or the florets of elderflower carefully stripped from the stalk, and stir to mix with the fruit. Sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl. Cut then rub in the butter. Stir in the muscovado sugar then the lightly beaten eggs. Finally, stir in the gooseberries and their flavourings.

Grease the base of an 8-inch spring-clip cake tin, line and grease again. Turn the cake mixture into it and mound it up in the middle. Bake at 350° F for about 1 1/2 hours. Unlike most cakes, this one does not come away from the sides of the tin when it is cooked.

Cool for a few minutes before unmoulding. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and decorate with fresh elder blossom or sweet geranium or melissa leaves, and serve the deliciously moist cake while it is still warm — as a pudding, with plenty of cream.

Recipe Source: Country Living by Philippa Davenport, Unknown, June 1988
Fall Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

A secret plot to control the Synod? No; it's not secret at all. 12 hours ago
What about Catholic affirmation for those in false marriages? 14 hours ago
Free eBook: Pope Francis' Catechesis on the Family October 7
The headlines say Gov. Brown is Catholic. He says he's not sure what that means. October 7
Archbishop predicts Synod won't change Church teaching. Why am I not reassured? October 7

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
In Cuba, Pope emphasizes service to the vulnerable, praises thaw in US-Cuban relations CWN - September 21
Pope challenges America in speech to US Congress CWN - September 24
As Synod opens, Pope calls on Church to defend ‘unity and indissolubility’ of marriage bond CWN - October 5