Kendal Mint Cake
|Place of origin||England|
|Region or state||Cumbria|
|Main ingredients||Sugar, glucose, peppermint|
|Cookbook: Kendal Mint Cake Media: Kendal Mint Cake|
Kendal Mint Cake is a glucose-based confection flavoured with peppermint. It originates from Kendal in Cumbria, England. Kendal Mint Cake is popular among climbers and mountaineers, especially those from the United Kingdom, as a source of energy.
Kendal Mint Cake is based on a traditional recipe known as mint cake, peppermint tablet and various other similar names. Kendal Mint Cake is well known to mountaineers and explorers for its high energy content. There are currently three companies that still produce Kendal mint cake in Kendal. The origin of the Mint cake is allegedly from a batch of Peppermint creams that went wrong. The mixture was left overnight and the solidified 'mint cake' was discovered in the morning.
Romney's was founded in 1918 and used an old recipe to create Mint Cake. This Mint Cake was sold in Kendal and sent by train to other areas of the north west for sale. In 1987, Romney's bought Wiper's Mint Cake from Harry Wiper, who had inherited ownership of Wiper's in 1960 when his father died.
Wilson's Mint Cake was founded in 1913, when James Wilson purchased a factory in the Stricklandgate area of the town. He had previously made and distributed types of toffee, but he decided to concentrate on mint cake. In 1966, the firm moved to its current location in the Cross Lane area of Kendal. Wilson's is currently licensed to sell a Beatrix Potter range of sweets. The factory is currently run by the grandson of James, Andrew Wilson, and Mint Cake is no longer the major product of the company as chocolate confectionery takes up 90% of orders.
Quiggin's Mint Cake is the oldest surviving mint cake company. The Quiggin family had been making confectionery since 1840 in the Isle of Man and when one of the four sons moved to Kendal in 1880, the mint cake company was formed.
In the BBC TV programme Great British Menu, series 5, Lisa Allen visited Quiggin's factory and used Quiggin's Kendal Mint Cakes in her Strawberries with Meringue & Kendal Mint Cake Water Ice dessert.
In the BBC TV programme Great British Railway Journeys (Series 7, Episode 2), Michael Portillo visited Quiggin's factory.
Kendal Mint Cake is made from sugar, glucose, water and peppermint oil. Although the exact recipe and way of manufacturing Mint Cake is kept secret, it is known that it is created in the following way:
- The sugar, glucose, water and peppermint oil are boiled in a copper pan.
- The mixture is continuously stirred (without stirring, the resultant product would be clear).
- The mixture is then poured into moulds and allowed to set, after which it is broken into individual bars.
There are numerous types of Mint Cake that are now available. Mint Cake made with white sugar, Mint Cake made with brown sugar, and Mint Cake enrobed in chocolate are the three most popular varieties.
Kendal Mint Cake has been used on many expeditions around the world as a source of energy;
- Edmund Hillary and his team carried Romney's Kendal Mint Cake with them on the first successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. The packaging currently includes the following: “'We sat on the snow and looked at the country far below us … we nibbled Kendal Mint Cake.' A member of the successful Everest expedition wrote – 'It was easily the most popular item on our high altitude ration – our only criticism was that we did not have enough of it.'”
- Mint Cake was provided to the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–1917, which was led by Sir Ernest Shackleton.
- Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman included mint cake in their supplies for their 2004 motorcycle trip around the world in Long Way Round.
- The Kendal Mint Cake is also a standard part of the 24-hour ration pack issued to the Irish Defence Forces.
- The Art and Mystery of Food
- BBC - Cumbria - Features - The famous confection from Kendal
- a lake district miscellany, Tom Holman
- George Romney's - Kendal Mint Cake
- About Us
- BBC - Added Sauce for Kendal Mint Cake. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
- The Quiggin's Story from the home of Kendal Mint Cake
- UKTV Food: Local Food Directory: Regions: North West
- George Romney's - Kendal Mint Cake