Kendal Mint Cake

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Kendal Mint Cake
Kendal Mint Cake.jpeg
A packet of Romney's Kendal mint cake
Place of originEngland
Region or stateCumbria
Created byJoseph Wiper
Main ingredientsSugar, glucose, peppermint

Kendal Mint Cake is a sugar-based confection flavoured with peppermint. It originates from Kendal in Cumbria, England.[1] Kendal Mint Cake is popular among climbers and mountaineers, especially those from the United Kingdom, as a source of energy.[2]


Kendal Mint Cake is based on a traditional recipe known as mint cake, peppermint tablet, and various other names.[3] Three companies still produce Kendal Mint Cake. The origin of the cake is allegedly a batch of glacier mint sweets that went wrong. In 1869 Joseph Wiper, who married into the Thompson family of confectioners based in Kendal, supposedly left the boiled solution for glacier mints overnight and it turned cloudy and solidified. The resulting 'mint cake' was discovered in the morning.[4]

Wiper began producing mint cake, with several other confectioneries following suit. After Joseph Wiper emigrated to Canada in 1912 his great-nephew, Robert Wiper, took over the family business.[5] Robert marketed Kendal mint cake as an energy snack used on famous expeditions, including the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, which largely led to its rise in international popularity amongst mountaineers and hikers.[6]


Quiggin's factory on Low Fellside, in Kendal, England

Quiggin's Kendal Mint Cake is the oldest surviving mint cake company. The Quiggin family has been making confectionery since 1840 in the Isle of Man. When one of the four sons, Daniel Quiggin, moved to Kendal in 1880, the mint cake company was formed.[7][8]

In the BBC TV programme Great British Menu, series 5, Lisa Allen visited Quiggin's factory and used Quiggin's Kendal Mint Cake in her Strawberries with Meringue & Kendal Mint Cake Water Ice dessert.[9]

In the BBC TV programme Great British Railway Journeys (Series 7, Episode 2), Michael Portillo visited Quiggin's factory.[citation needed]


Kendal mint cake with a chocolate coating

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 Robert Wiper died.[10]

In 2016 Romney's collaborated with fashion site Lyst to create a limited run of "Kendall Mint Cakes" to celebrate Kendall Jenner's 21st birthday on 3 November. 200 limited edition cakes were given away on social media.[11]

More recently Romney's have appeared on the hit BBC programme 'Inside The Factory' and Gold UK's Ricky & Ralf's Great Northern Road Trip. 2020 also saw the launch of Monopoly - The Lakes Edition, where Romney's feature on the board, a dedicated chance card and the front of the box alongside other iconic Lake District companies.[citation needed]


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 instead concentrate on mint cake. In 1966, the firm moved to a location in the Cross Lane area of Kendal. Wilson's was licensed to sell a Beatrix Potter range of sweets.[12] As of 2007, the factory was run by the grandson of James, Andrew Wilson, and mint cake was no longer the major product of the company as chocolate confectionery took up 90% of orders.[13]

After moving from Kendal to Holme in 2013, it was reported in 2016 that the company had closed down.[14] However, the company actually changed hands and is now run by W McClures Ltd, a family-run business that was established in Windermere in 1945, and Kendal Mint Cake is still for sale from their website.[15]

Manufacturing process[edit]

Kendal Mint Cake is made from sugar, glucose, water and peppermint oil.[16] Although the exact recipe and method of manufacturing mint cake is kept secret,[7] it is known that it is created in the following way:[17]

  1. The sugar, glucose, water and peppermint oil are boiled in a copper pan.
  2. The mixture is continuously stirred (without stirring, the resultant product would be clear).
  3. The mixture is then poured into moulds and allowed to set, after which it is broken into individual bars.

Numerous types of mint cake are now available. Mint cake made with white sugar, mint cake made with brown sugar, and mint cake enrobed in chocolate are the most popular varieties.[18]

Notable uses[edit]

Kendal Mint Cake has been used on many expeditions around the world as a source of energy:[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Romney's Kendal Mint Cake". ROMNEY’S. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Kendal Mint Cake maker is out of dough". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Kendal Mint Cake". The Art and Mystery of Food.
  4. ^ Tom Holman, A Lake District Miscellany, Frances Lincoln, 2007
  5. ^ "Old Cumbria Gazetteer". Geography Department, Portsmouth University. 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  6. ^ Advertisement for Robert Wiper's Original Kendal Mint Cake. Auld Kendal: Atkinson & Pollitt. 1926. "Image PR1665". Archived from the original on 19 February 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  7. ^ a b The Quiggin's Story from the home of Kendal Mint Cake Archived 17 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Mint Cake & Manx Tablet". Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Dessert Finale: Lisa Allen's Strawberries with Meringue & Kendal Mint Cake Water Ice". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  10. ^ George Romney's – Kendal Mint Cake Archived 27 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Limited edition Kendal Mint Cakes to celebrate Kendall Jenner's 21st birthday". 1 November 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  12. ^ About Us Archived 9 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ BBC - Added Sauce for Kendal Mint Cake. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
  14. ^ "Kendal mint cake and confectionery business 'closes down'". Westmorland Gazette. 10 February 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  15. ^ "About - Wilsons of Kendal - Quality Mintcake, Confectionery and Luxury Biscuits". Wilsons of Kendal.
  16. ^ UKTV Food: Local Food Directory: Regions: North West Archived 12 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ a b "The famous confection from Kendal". BBC Online. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  18. ^ George Romney's – Kendal Mint Cake Archived 31 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "The famous confection from Kendal". BBC Online. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  20. ^ "Foods of England - Kendal Mint Cake". Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  21. ^ Blog entry We Made This
  22. ^ Ross, Alisa. "This English Candy Bar Powered the First Everest Ascent". Outside. Retrieved 31 July 2021.

External links[edit]