Kendal Mint Cake
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|Place of origin||England|
|Region or state||Cumbria|
|Created by||Joseph Wiper|
|Main ingredients||Sugar, glucose, peppermint|
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 names. There are currently two companies that still produce Kendal Mint Cake. The origin of the cake is allegedly the result of 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 'mint cake' was then discovered in the morning. 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. Robert Wiper 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.
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. 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.
Quiggin's 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.
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.
In the BBC TV programme Great British Railway Journeys (Series 7, Episode 2), Michael Portillo visited Quiggin's factory.
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. 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. After moving from Kendal to Holme in 2013, it was reported in 2016 that the company had closed down.
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;
- Sir 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 for 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.
- "Romney's Kendal Mint Cake". www.mintcake.co.uk. ROMNEY’S. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
- "Kendal Mint Cake maker is out of dough". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
- The Art and Mystery of Food
- Tom Holman, A Lake District Miscellany, Frances Lincoln, 2007
- "Old Cumbria Gazetteer". Geography Department, Portsmouth University. 2013. Retrieved 19 Feb 2018.
- Advertisement for Robert Wiper's Original Kendal Mint Cake. Auld Kendal: Atkinson & Pollitt. 1926. Archived 19 February 2018 at the Wayback Machine.
- George Romney's - Kendal Mint Cake Archived 27 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Limited edition Kendal Mint Cakes to celebrate Kendall Jenner's 21st birthday". 2016-11-01. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- The Quiggin's Story from the home of Kendal Mint Cake Archived 17 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Mint Cake & Manx Tablet". Retrieved 19 Feb 2018.
- "Dessert Finale: Lisa Allen's Strawberries with Meringue & Kendal Mint Cake Water Ice". YouTube. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
- About Us Archived 9 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- BBC - Added Sauce for Kendal Mint Cake. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
- "Kendal mint cake and confectionery business 'closes down'". Westmorland Gazette. 10 February 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- UKTV Food: Local Food Directory: Regions: North West Archived 12 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- "The famous confection from Kendal". BBC Online. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
- George Romney's - Kendal Mint Cake Archived 31 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- Blog entry We Made This