Historic recipes for morning teas

We talk, listen, view, and argue, history – but we don’t often get to eat history. Conference organising committee members Karen Downing and Blake Singley worked with Yvonne Breynard at Hudson’s of Canberra to adapt historical recipes that accompanied our morning cups of tea and coffee.

Call it an ice breaker or a conversation started or simply #backintimeformorningtea. (Annabel Crabb beat us to the hashtag but we had this idea before the ABC show aired.) Whatever you call our novelty morning teas, we hope you enjoyed them!



Gynger Brede. A medieval treat of breadcrumbs, honey and spices. We worked with an old recipe and some further notes.

Shrewsbery Cakes. The very cakes that Guinevere made to win King Arthur’s heart (historical accuracy unverified!). Recipe on GodeCookery.



1234 Cake. Before recipes were written down, the name of baked goods often was the recipe. So the Pound Cake is one pound each of butter, sugar, flour and eggs. This variation calls for 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour, and 4 eggs as the base. The cup itself was usually a large mug, employed strictly for measurement, and varied from household to household. Online at Food52.

Sablé Biscuits. Purportedly introduced to the court of Louis XIV in 1670, named in honour of the Marquise de Sablé who was a great beauty of the time, and much enjoyed by the aristocracy. Online at thegoodlifefrance.com.



Indian Pound Cake. This recipe appeared in Eliza Leslie’s Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats (1827), the first baking and dessert book published in the United States. It uses cornmeal, a staple of indigenous diets in the Americas. Online at Food52.

Carraway Biscuits. This recipe is found in Australia’s first published cookbook, The English and Australian Cookery Book, from 1864. It was written by Tasmanian politician and bon vivant Edward Abbott as a way to revive his fortunes.

1kg flour
60 gms butter
225 gms sugar
30 gms caraway seeds (ground)
15 gms coriander seeds (ground)
Warm milk
Mix ingredients together to make a stiff paste, cut into thin cakes, prick with a fork and bake.



1918 War Cake. A very thrifty boiled fruit cake made with scant fat and no eggs. The recipe comes from the longest-running women’s weekly magazine in the world, first published in 1869. Recipe online.

Oatmeal Macaroons. Queensland cook book author and domestic economy instructor Amy Schauer included this recipe in her 1909 Schauer Cookery Book. The book would prove to be hugely popular across Australia, with numerous editions published up to the twenty first-century.

1 small cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tbs butter
2 tsp baking powder
1½ cups rolled oats
Cream butter and sugar, add yolks of eggs, then oats, and baking powder, lastly the white of eggs whisked stiff. Drop teaspoon quantities on to a buttered sheet. Allow for spreading. Bake in a slow oven.


Updated:  11 July 2018/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications