Days until Christmas 2022

Christmas Countdown Lifestyle Blog, helping you plan a stress-free Christmas.
Christmas Countdown Lifestyle Blog, helping you plan a stress-free Christmas.

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Tunis Cake

Tunis Cake A Great British Christmas Tradition

Update December 21st 2021

I had to pop into Tesco today and spotted they had their own Tunis Cake this year. I couldn’t resist buying one, so thought I’d post some pictures here.

Tesco Tunis Cake Christmas 2021 - top view of the cake.
Tesco Christmas 2021 Tunis Cake

Tesco Tunis Cake Christmas 2021 - side view of box, showing a slice of the cake.

Tesco Tunis Cake Christmas 2021 - after being removed from the box and wrapper.
Tunis cake purchased from Tesco – Christmas 2021 – after being removed from the packaging.

It’s not bad, the chocolate topping is about 5mm on average and quite nice. The cake itself felt too spongy for me, but really not bad.

All being well I’m going to make my own over the next few days and will post details here.

December 2014

I was at our local farm shop today and noticed that they had a Tunis Cake from a local artisan bakery. As I had family visiting in the afternoon I thought it would make a nice Christmas treat with a cup of tea mid afternoon.

Tunis Cake

I’m not sure why it is called a Tunis cake but it’s a British Christmas tradition now like Panettone is in Italy.  A Tunis cake is a Madeira sponge cake topped with a thick layer of chocolate and decorated with marzipan fruits.

Tunis Cake

If you are in Norfolk or Suffolk and able to get hold of a Tunis Cake from Wendy’s House Bakery then I can highly recommend it. The cake itself was light and moist and the chocolate topping was lovely and rich without being too sweet. I’m not sure my photo’s do it justice but it looked really lovely and my family and visitors really enjoyed it this afternoon.

The origins of the cake are Edwardian. Scottish bakery Macfarlane Langs produced commercial Tunis Cakes in the 1930s, and when they merged with McVitie & Price in 1948 to form a company called United Biscuits (which still owns the McVitie’s brand) the recipe passed to the new company. McVitie’s produced a Tunis cake until the mid 1980s. Members of my family can remember when they stopped producing these at the start of the second wold war and how pleased they were to see one again after the war.

The cake itself is thought to have been created out of post-WW1 austerity at a time when people wanted a traditional Christmas cake but could not obtain dried fruit. The Madeira sponge and rich chocolate topping were much easier to make from more readily available ingridents.

Mary Berry’s Tunis Cake Recipe

If you would like to make your own Tunis Cake then I can recommend Mary Berry’s Tunis Cake Recipe it’s a great alternative to a traditional Christmas Cake and really useful if you’ve run out of time to make your cake this year.

Sainsburys Tunis Cake 2014
Tunis Cake, spotted in Sainsbury’s back in 2014

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  1. Tunis cake spotted in Sainsbury’s today - […] on from my Tunis Cake a Great British Christmas Tradition blog at the weekend, I spotted an own brand…