Tottenham Cake – A Traditional Bake

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A lovely soft cake, topped with raspberry icing and coconut. First created in the 1800s

Tottenham Cake was first created by Henry Chalkley, who lived in Tottenham which is in North London. He was a Quaker and he created the cake to by cut into pieces for the local children to enjoy a sweet treat. The original icing was created using mulberries from trees in the Quaker’s churchyard. Mulberries are not so readily available these days so the cake is now made with raspberries in the icing.

I believe that Greggs sell Tottenham Cake in some of their stores in London and the Home Counties.

The recipe I am using was one that I saw in Sainsbury’s Magazine and in that it was attributed to, and adapted from one by Leah Hyslop.

In the form of a traybake this recipe is very easy indeed and it results in a lovely soft cake which is topped with the sweet, raspberry flavoured, icing and then some coconut too. Having made the cake it just needs to be cooled before the icing can be applied and then topped. It is then ready to eat but it is best to leave it long enough for the icing to set up a little before slicing.

Although it was originally intended, as I mentioned above, for children it is perfect for an afternoon snack with a cup of tea. It is also perfect served with some custard for a dessert.

My Tottenham Cake turned out very well indeed. The sponge cake was light and soft and it was completmented by the sweet and fruity icing and the coconut.

Tottenham Cake

Although the recipe calls for self raising flour I know that many people don’t have that. So instead plain flour can be used, but that must have 3 teaspoons of baking powder thoroughly mixed into it. In addition the recipe calls for 2 tsp/8g of baking powder. So if using plain flour that would mean using 20g/5 tsp of baking powder in total.

Tottenham Cake – Video

Another similar traybake which is very tasty indeed, and also perfect as a cake or a dessert is Lemon Cake Squares with Raspberry & Coconut Topping

Tottenham Cake – A Traditional Bake

Recipe by geoffcooCourse: Cakes, DessertsCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the cake
  • 225g(2 sticks) softened unsalted butter

  • 225g(1 cup + 2 tbsp) caster sugar

  • 4 medium eggs(large in USA), beaten

  • 5 ml(1 tsp) vanilla extract

  • grated zest from 1/2 an orange

  • 300g(2 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) Self raising flour – see note below

  • 8g(2 tps) baking powder

  • 45ml(3 tbsp) milk

  • Topping
  • 125g(1 cup) raspberries

  • 300g(2 1/3 cups) icing sugar

  • 14g(2 tbsp) desiccated coconut


  • Preheat the oven to 180C.160C Fan/350F.
  • Grease a 30cm/12 inch by 20cm/8 inch cake pan and line it with parchment paper(my pan was slightly larger than that, by about 1 cm but it worked fine).
  • In a large bowl place the butter and sugar and cream them together until light and fluffy( I used my hand mixer, but it is easy to do by hand too).
  • Gradually add the beaten eggs, whisking all the time until thoroughly combined.
  • Add the vanilla extract and the orange zest and then whisk to combine.
  • Add the baking powder into the flour and mix to combine.
  • Sift the flour mixture onto the wet mixture and gently fold in, using a metal spoon.
  • Add the milk and again fold in until fully combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and spread over the base until levelled.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is springy to the touch and has turned a nice golden brown.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and leave it in the pan to cool.
  • As the cake cools place the raspberries into a saucepan with a tablespoon of water and bring it to the boil.
  • Allow the raspberries to boil until they break down and release all the juices. This will take a couple of minutes.
  • Sieve the raspberries and juices into a bowl, retaining the liquid and discarding the seeds and any pulp.
  • Take 4 tbsp of the juice and pour it into the icing sugar, then stir it well to create a thick but spreadable icing. Add a little more liquid as necessary until you achieve the right consistency. If you don’t have enough raspberry juice you can use a little water.
  • Remove the cake from the pan and spread the icing all over the top.
  • Sprinkle the coconut over the top of the icing and gently pat it down to make it adhere.
  • Allow the icing to set before cutting into portions of your desired size.


  • If you want your icing to be a more intense colour you can add a little food colouring.
  • If using plain flour use the same amount but thoroughly mix 12g/3tsp baking powder into it.

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