english plum cake

English Plum Cake

I found this beautiful English Plum Cake recipe in The Captain’s Lady Cookbook – Personal Journal Volume II. In the 1980’s Barbara Dalia Jasmin found original handwritten manuscripts on pages of faded copperplate written in the late 1800’s and compiled them into this book. They are the journal entries and personal recipes of a lovely lady who is the wife of a dashing sea-captain. The journal entries pull you into a time much like The Hutchinson Story where food meant so much more than what it means today.

I debated for some time about whether or not I wanted to begin this series by including the writings of The Captain’s Lady on Bread & With It because I didn’t want it to take way from The Hutchinson Story. I was thinking about this while the kids and I were on one of our usual walks when I heard my daughter holler “Mom Look!”. Directly above her was a beautiful cherry tree full of ripe cherries and I knew it was meant to be. This recipe was calling me and I knew this story needed to be told.

These writings touched my heart and I would love to share them with you every Thursday with my usual recipe post. I would like to celebrate her life by making one of her recipes and sharing a journal entry from her book. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I do.

The Captain’s Wife Episode 01: The Wedding

18 March 1857

“It is a soft, misty, early spring day. The sky is blue, the sun is bright. There seems to be a special radiance wherever I look. I feel that I am walking through a dream. I am now dressed in my beautiful, soft white gown of O’Callaghan lace over tissue taffeta with a myriad of petticoats to make it stand out. My Captain brought the materials from Ireland along with a very special bouquet of white silk Killarney roses: My Golden Celtic Cross and my Claddagh wedding ring he brought back on his last voyage. My long, French illusion veil is caught up with the same roses and looks very pretty against my light auburn hair done up in large curls and waves. My father brought my pearls from the Orient several years ago.
My Bridesmaids (my sisters, sisters-in-law and cousins) look like a veritable rainbow in every shade imaginable – blues, greens, pinks, violet. My little nieces are dressed in white replicas of my own gown.

I arrived at St. Michael’s Church in our large carriage with my father and mother. They looked at me so lovingly and proud. We then all arranged ourselves in a procession; the music started and I, leaning on my father’s arm, walked down the long aisle to the altar. There he stood – My Captain – tall, blond, bearded, handsome, strong, honest and true. The Mass was very special, the music lovely. We made our pledges to each other and sealed them with a kiss. Then we turned and started down the aisle to be greeted by our relatives and friends. May the happiness, beauty and sanctity of this moment never cease. I fervently believe that “Love is Eternal.” May God bless us both and may his bright, shinning light of love encircle and protect us forever.


(The Captain’s Lady Cookbook – Personal Journal Vol. II )

This book can be purchased through Amazon:
The Captain’s Lady Cookbook

blueberry cake

English Plum Cake
English Plum Cake recipe from 1857, originating from the wife of a handsome sea captain. This delicious recipe is accompanied by a touching true love story.
Write a review
3417 calories
375 g
1548 g
188 g
65 g
109 g
1146 g
1121 g
193 g
6 g
66 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 3417
Calories from Fat 1656
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 188g
Saturated Fat 109g
Trans Fat 6g
Polyunsaturated Fat 13g
Monounsaturated Fat 53g
Cholesterol 1548mg
Sodium 1121mg
Total Carbohydrates 375g
Dietary Fiber 9g
Sugars 193g
Protein 65g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 3/4 cup butter, softened
  2. 3/4 cup packed barbados sugar or muscovado sugar
  3. 6 eggs
  4. 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  5. 1 tablespoon vinegar
  6. 4 tablespoons cream*
  7. 1 tablespoon molasses
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  10. 1 cup glace cherries or fresh cherries
  11. 1/4 cup sultanas
  1. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Slowly add eggs one at a time making sure mixture is thoroughly combined between each addition.
  2. Beat in flour, vinegar, cream, salt, baking powder scraping edges of bowl as necessary. Gently stir in cherries and sultanas.
  3. Pour into a greased 9 inch cake pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a cooling rack.
  1. *barbados sugar can be substituted with dark brown sugar (the darker the better)
  2. * milk can be substituted for cream
Adapted from The Captain's Lady
Adapted from The Captain's Lady
Bread & With It https://breadandwithit.com/
* indicates required


  1. What a nice story! The recipe looks great too!

    1. Author

      I’m so glad you are enjoying the story. There will be more entries to come so make sure you are “subscribed” so you don’t miss an episode. I will be posting more of the Captin’s Lady journal entries every Thursday, that is also when the weekly newsletter goes out.

      I have been making these old cake recipes to pick my favorites for this series and it’s amazing how different they taste from modern day cakes. Modern Day cakes have way too much sugar in them while these older cakes are more mellow like… nothing I could compare it to. Michael says it tastes “old fashioned” … I have to agree but I cant describe it. It’s just wonderful!

      1. Thank you so much for sharing this story!! Truly beautiful. I am the genealogist in the family, and truly appreciate any kind of history, and I will have to be sure to try this recipe!

        1. Author

          Oh I am so glad you are enjoying it! There are so many lovely journal entries to come that will just touch your heart!

  2. This sounds like such a lovely story!! So thanks a lot that you share it with us – I’ve actually came across your blog for the first time through foodgawker, but will return frequently from now on to stay “up to date” with the story. And thanks for the cake recipe, it looks truly lovely and was pinned right away ;-).

    1. Author

      Thank you Sabrina for your kind words and the “pin”. I’m glad Foodgawker is coming through for me 😀 I send out simple updates with photographs every week in my newsletter if you want to sign up. If you are subscribed it will remind you of new episodes in this series. I started following you on Pinterest, your food photography is excellent! Have a great weekend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *