November 2012

The ‘Groaning’ Cake!

Hello lovely Ladies, Gents, Babies & Bumps!

So, how was Halloween & the Fireworks then? Did everyone have fun dressing up little people for Halloween & then eating all their sweets when they are in bed? Nope? Just us then….

So much autumnal loveliness at the moment, we have been getting very excited about the seasons changing here at TBJ HQ. The Manor house that we teach our classes from is so cosy and gorgeous on cold evenings – very Downton Abbey at Christmas! With it’s high ceilings, oak panelled rooms & grand fixtures it makes for a very luxurious antenatal class!

This weeks blog is of the more unusual variety, possible totally new to many (it was certainly new to us!) Whilst on the very wonderful Cheltenham Birth unit, we come across a rather unusual recipe for a cake, not just your average victoria sponge or chocolate brownie, no something much more exciting (don’t worry it’s nothing illegal, as if!) We found a recipe for a ‘Groaning Cake” & we wondered whether anyone had heard of it before? If you haven’t and this whole concept is new to you too….. then let us tell you a story. Are you all sitting comfortably? Does anyone need the toilet? No? Well, then we shall begin…..

” The tradition for a Groaning cake at a birth is an ancient English one, originating from Cornwall. The old wives tale says that the scent of a groaning cake whilst it is being baked in the oven of a labouring women’s home would help to ease the pain of Labour. Some wise old women (much like us!) say that if the mother breaks the eggs whilst she is aching that the labour won’t last long. Others say that if the family wants prosperity and fertility, that the father must pass pieces of cake around to members of the family following the birth. The recipe contains lots of spices and fruit to aid the women through her labour giving her energy and strength – they don’t call it Labour for nothing! Plus as it is rich in iron it helps the body to recover from any blood loss. Many different cultures share a similar tradition, a special dish, bread or drink that is usually spicy to mark the occasion of a babies arrival. At on time there was even a ‘Groaning’ ale to go with it…… Some cakes were even said to ave contained Gin & Hemp seeds to aid the mothers groaning (now we are talking!) ”

So if you are a heavily pregnant women or you just like baking, then here is the recipe for a Groaning cake in all it’s glory:

2.5 Cups of Flour
3 Eggs
2 tsp. Baking Powder
Half a cup of oil
1 tsp. baking soda
Half a cup of orange juice2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Half a cup of molasses
Half a tsp. ground cloves
1 1/3 cup of sugar
1.5 cups of grated apple with no skin
1 tsp almond extract

Sift all the dry ingredients together, add the apple, beat the eggs, add the oil, orange juice, molasses & sugar. Add to the dry ingredients, mix well. Add the almond extract. Transfer to loaf tins and bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes. This should make either 2 loaves or 18 muffins.

You could add raisins, dates, dried fruit or nuts of you wanted to.

Well there is is, a groaning cake. I bet it smells delicious when its baking! If anyone has eaten it or indeed bakes it then please do let us know, you know we always like people to get in touch. It makes us smile, a lot :0)

Our antenatal classes are held at the Manor by the Lake and our New Baby Workshops are held at The Queens Hotel. If you fancy finding out more then send us an email to

Enjoy crunching in those autumn leaves!

Love Jules & Hannah xx