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Love Feast Cake- a Tasty Fruit Cake for Valentine's Day

Updated on January 30, 2018

Saint Valentine's Day

The celebration of St. Valentine’s Day as a romantic occasion possibly dates back to the 1400’s when a Frenchman named Charles, Duke of Orleans, who languished in an English prison after the battle of Agincourt in 1415 sent his wife a rhymed love letter from his cell in the Tower of London.

It’s a bit confused as to the origins of the saint himself; there are two Valentines listed in the Roman histories of saints. Both were martyred on February 14th by being beheaded for their beliefs. One died in what today is called Terni, about 95 kilometres outside Rome. The other, who was killed in Rome, was killed during a persecution of the Christians in A.D. 269 by Claudius the Goth. A basilica was built to honour him on the site of his death in about 350 A.D. his remains were interned in catacombs beneath the building.

There are a number of mentions of Valentine’s day in early English literature; When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate’ which referred to the fact that it was thought that birds chose their mates on that day according to Geoffrey Chaucer. William Shakespeare also mentioned this belief in A Midsummer Night's Dream. A character in the play discovers two lovers in the woods and asks, "St. Valentine is past; / Begin these woodbirds but to couple

During the 1700’s friends would draw names from a hat and wear the name on their sleeve, which could be where ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve’ came from. In the early 1800’s the practice of sending letters and cards was so established that they began to be commercially produced. Kate Greenway became famous for her designs in particular cards or smiling, happy children.

Love Feast Cake

With St. Valentine’s Day falling next month I thought this was very fitting recipe.

Chapel outings were very popular in the early years of the 19th century and in the 18th century quarterly ‘Love Feasts’ were held at which a two-handled cup and pieces of ‘Love Feast’ cake and fruit were handed round. The women did all the baking of bread and cakes, and the Scripture Cake was also served. Such a feast might be held in a marquee at a beauty spot and be attended by as many as 1,500 people,


In the early days, the cake was made with yeast, but later on baking powder was used.

900g (2 lb) plain flour

175g (6 oz) each butter and lard

450g (1 lb) sugar

450g (1 lb) currants

1 tablespoon candied lemon peel or grated peel of 1 lemon

225g (8 oz) sultanas or raisins

1 teaspoon mixed spice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

3 eggs

150 ml (1/4 pint) approximately, milk

Rub the shortening into the sifted flour and salt. Then add all the other ingredients except the eggs and milk. Beat the eggs well with the milk and then add to the mix. Work it until it forms a soft, firm dough. Put into greased loaf or cake tins and bake in a moderate oven (180 degree C, 350 degree F, gas mark 4) for about 1 hour, but test with a thin skewer in the centre before taking from the heat.

The most romantic record ever

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 35 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: one loaf
5 stars from 1 rating of bread

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