• Tottenham cakes (Murdoch Books / Regula Ysewijn)Source: Murdoch Books / Regula Ysewijn

Invented to celebrate a football victory, this pretty cake is simple but delicious. 






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (4 votes)

In 1901, pieces of Tottenham cake were given away to children from the London neighbourhood of Tottenham to celebrate the victory of the Tottenham Hotspurs in the Cup. The pink icing is traditionally coloured with mulberry juice and sometimes the cake is finished with hundreds and thousands or desiccated coconut.

John Kirkland writes in The Modern Baker, Confectioner and Caterer that this is an easy and quick cake for children’s parties and other occasions for which many pieces must be baked in a short time. His recipe is for a giant cake that is made with more than 5 kg (11 lb) of flour, but it is not tasty at all because it contains no egg, and almost no sugar and butter. It clearly had to be cheap to make! The version that I give here is the version that is still sold today – a simple cake, but also delicious.


  • 300 g (10½ oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 300 g (10½ oz) white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) baking powder
  • 85 ml (2¾ fl oz) milk
  • butter, for greasing
  • flour, for dusting


  • 350 g (12 oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
  • 30 ml (1 fl oz) water or redcurrant juice
  • natural pink colouring (if you don’t use redcurrant juice)
  • desiccated coconut and/or hundreds and thousands, to garnish (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F). Prepare a 24 x 28 cm (9½ x 11¼ inch) cake tin. Apply a thin layer of butter with a folded sheet of paper towel and divide it nicely into the corners of the baking tin. Apply a strip of baking paper in the tin that covers two sides and protrudes slightly above the top of the tin so that you can remove the cake more easily after baking. Dust the lined tin with flour, hold the tin above your workbench or sink and tap on the bottom to remove the excess flour.

2. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and make sure that each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one. Add a teaspoon of the flour with the last egg to prevent the mixture from separating.

3. Carefully fold the remaining flour and the baking powder into the batter so that the volume is retained. Stir in the milk, a little at a time. Spoon the batter into the tin and smooth the top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30–40 minutes. Allow the cake to cool completely.

4. For the icing, mix the icing sugar with the redcurrant juice or the water and the pink colouring.

5. Put the coconut and/or hundreds and thousands in a shallow bowl. Trim the cake edges. Spread the cake with the icing and cut it into 12 pieces, wiping the knife after each cut. Dip the cake pieces into the coconut or hundreds and thousands or just leave them plain.

6. It is best to eat this cake on the day it’s made or the following day.


Recipe and image from Oats in the North, Wheat from the South by Regula Ysewijn, photography by Regula Ysewijn (Murdoch Books, $49.99). Out now.