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Tunis Cake- The Lost Christmas Cake Recipe

Updated on October 26, 2017
Joanna14 profile image

Christine, a wife, mother and homemaker for over 30 years, has an NVQ3 in Childcare & Education & loves cooking, music, health & nutrition.

Tunis Cake
Tunis Cake | Source

The Return Of The Tunis Cake!

From my childhood I have fond memories of Christmas with my parents and three sisters. My mother would bake the typical rich English fruit cake, but she would also buy a Tunis Cake each year. My father preferred it, with its’ delicate Madeira sponge and gentle lemon flavour and nutty consistency and topped with a generous layer of chocolate. The one I remembered had coloured marzipan fruits on top as well! I have always loved this cake, but was disappointed that I couldn’t get it in Germany where we lived for 13 years. There was always plenty of Stollen and Lebkuchen at Christmas time, but alas, no Tunis Cake!

Undeterred, I managed to find a recipe to make my own and have been making it most years ever since. This was just as well as in the meantime it had almost vanished from the shops in England. I mean, who can resist all that chocolate which goes so well with the Madeira sponge? You can add marzipan fruits if desired, which can be bought or made and added with the decoration at the end.

Tunis Cake was invented in 1973 by McVities who sold it in the UK until the early eighties. The name may have come from the Tunis warrior during the Carthage Empire, who celebrated victories won with Rome with the tradition of serving Madeira wine and cake.

Do you have any memories of Tunis Cake during the 70s and 80s? Leave your comments below!

Cook Time

Prep Time: 30-40 mins

Total Time:

Serves: 8-10


  • 6 oz (150g) butter
  • 6 oz (150g) caster sugar
  • Grated rind 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 oz (75g) ground almonds
  • 8 oz (200g) plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teasp baking powder
  • 2 tablesp milk
  • "For Topping"
  • 8 oz (200g) good quality plain chocolate
  • 2 oz (50g) butter
  • 4 oz (100g) sifted icing sugar
  • 7 pieces walnut
  • 8 inch cake tin
  • Piping bag with 8 star pipe
Amazing Acrylic Cake Stand Multifunctional Cake and Serving Stand 30.4 cm (6 Uses)
Amazing Acrylic Cake Stand Multifunctional Cake and Serving Stand 30.4 cm (6 Uses)

Perfect to stand your tunis cake on and keep covered until ready to serve, but can also be used as a chip and dip server, punch or salad bowl and more!



  1. Brush the tin with melted fat and line the base with greased greaseproof paper. Preheat oven to Gas 3 (325 F, 170 C).
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until soft and add lemon rind.
  3. Add beaten eggs gradually, until light and fluffy.
  4. Fold in flour, almonds, baking powder and enough milk to give a soft dropping consistency.
  5. Turn into the tin, spread evenly, leaving the centre slightly hollow.
  6. Bake on centre shelf of oven for 1 1/4 hours- until cake is golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  7. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
  8. Break chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  9. Wrap band of foil around the side of the cake so that it extends above the side by about 1/2 inch.
  10. Carefully pour melted chocolate onto the top of the cake, gently easing it to the sides to smooth the surface. Allow to set.
  11. Beat together the butter and icing sugar until creamy and use to fill the piping bag. When chocolate is set, peel off the foil and pipe a shell or rosette edge around the top. Complete with a whirl in the centre and a flower of walnuts.
  12. You can freeze the madeira cake for up to 6 months. Decorate after thawing overnight.
Wilton Dessert Decorator Plus Cake Decorating Tool, Cake Icing Tool
Wilton Dessert Decorator Plus Cake Decorating Tool, Cake Icing Tool

Piping was so much easier for me when I found this type of piping tube. I had better control, without it all oozing out at the sides! Re-usable and dishwasher safe!


Do you like this cake recipe?

5 stars from 1 rating of The Tunis Cake Recipe


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    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      Sounds interesting, with the lemon type cake topped with chocolate.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      4 years ago from San Francisco

      Your cake and your recipe look very good. Pinning.

    • Fiorenza profile image


      4 years ago from UK

      I loved these cakes as a kid and think it's a pity you can't buy them any more. Thanks for the recipe!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I never heard of this. It does sound good.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 

      4 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Looks and sounds wonderful... Thanks for sharing this

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      I've never heard of Tunis Cake. Thanks for the introduction!

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Had never heard of this cake before. It sounds good.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 

      4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      I could die eating this entire cake. Looks so good!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Sounds yummy - Pinned to my Gingerbread & Sugarplums board


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