Cecily the Chef's

This is an imaginary bakery created for role-playing purposes in Panhistoria. It is set in Wellington, New Zealand, 1893.

Cecily the Chef's is located in Thorndon near the Botanic Garden. The Botanic Garden was founded in 1868 by the New Zealand Institute with the introduction of imported conifers. It has been run by the Wellington City Council since 1891. (The Rose Garden and the Begonia House date to the 1950s and 60s).

Unlike cakes of the 18th century, which were just dusted in sugar, many of our cakes have the thick, sugar icings that have become popular now that sugar is more affordable. Our 19th century cakes are much lighter than the heavy cakes of the 18th century. Starting in the 19th century, cakes were leavened with eggs. After 1850, baking powder (bicarbonate of soda) was available, which made a lighter cake.

Cakes are served by the slice with tea. Whole cakes may be purchased for home.

Our Menu:


Almond Cream Cake - A cake made with almonds and iced with almond and rose water icing.

Banbury Cake (Image of a Banbury Cake) - These are flat, oval cakes filled with currants, rose water, rum, and nutmeg that are similar to Eccles Cake. (They first appear in 1586 and were popular into the late 19th century.)

Caraway Seed Cake (Image of a Caraway Seed Cake) - There are many different recipes for caraway seed cakes, seed cakes (usually caraway) and biscuits. Seed cakes before 1850 were rich and heavy and were called "keeping cakes" because the addition of Maderia or brandy meant they could not spoil and their flavor improved as they aged. Other recipes might include rose water or milk. Nutmeg, mace, ginger, or allspice was also used. After 1860, some replaced caraway seeds with currants. But then it should not be called seed cake! So our recipe includes caraway seeds, mace, nutmeg, and a little brandy. Traditionally, caraway seeds appeared in biscuits that were eaten once the wheat was sown. (These date to at least 1591 and began in East Anglia. They were popular in the 1700s and Victorian times).

Cider Cake (Image of a Cider Cake)- Made with apple cider for a moist cake (late 19th century recipe)

Cocoa-nut Cake - Made with Cocoa-nut (1861 recipe)

Domino Cake (Battenberg Cake or Neapolitan Roll. Image of a Battenberg Cake) - These sponge cakes are decorated to look like dominoes or checkerboards with 4 - 9 yellow and pink squares. A tasty shell is made from marzipan, apricot jam, and maraschino cherry juice. Traditionally this cake is said to have been created for the wedding of Queen Victoria's granddaughter, Princess Victoria of Hesse-Darmstadt, to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. [Known as Battenberg Cake by 1903.]

Dundee Cake (Image of a Dundee Cake) - A Scottish fruitcake made with almonds, currants, sultanas, and orange peel and topped with almonds. (19th century)

Eccles Cake (Image of a Eccles Cake) - Small, thick, buttery round cakes made with currants or spiced raisins and named for the town of Eccles. (Commercially made by 1793)

Madeira Cake (Image of a Madeira Cake - Yellow sponge cake flavored with lemon or orange and traditionally served with Maderia Wine. It is similar to a pound cake or yellow cake and is used to accompany tea. (18th or 19th centuries)

Neapolitan Cake (Image of a Neapolitan Cake) - This is a layered almond cake. Each layer is colored with different jams or other flavorings. Our cakes are colored red (rose-water and red currant jelly), white (almond), and green (spinach-colored) for the colors of the Neapolitan flag and are topped with puff paste and almond paste. (Late Victorian)

Plum Cake - The term "plum" traditionally refers to dried fruits like prunes or raisins. We make our plum cake with currants (1861 recipe). We also offer a plum cake made from prunes.

Queen Cake (Image of Queen Cakes) - These individual-sized cakes have currants, almonds, butter, sugar and other fine ingredients. This cake was named for Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III. (1861 recipe)

Savoy Cake (Image of Savoy Cake with striped oranges and a Plain Savoy Cake) - Flavored with orange flower water. Savoy cake or biscuits are "light as a feather". They can be molded into exotic shapes. We serve ours with oranges filled with alternating strips of blancmange and red jelly (1861 recipe)

Soda Cake - Made with currants and carbonate of soda for a nice, light cake (1861 recipe)

Victorian Sponge Cake (Image of Victorian Sponge Cake)- These light cakes are named for Queen Victoria. The two halves of the cake are separated by raspberry jam and are dusted with sugar. (The combination dates to the 19th century although sponge cakes were made since 1615).

Pastries, Pies, Tarts, and Puddings:

Almond Cheesecake - A pie filled with almonds, orange-flower water, eggs, and sack.

Cornucopias - Pastries shaped like cornucopias and filled with pink and white whipped cream (from Godey's Lady's Book 1864).

Epiphany Tart (Image of an Epiphany Tart) - This beautiful tart features different colored jams that fill the spaces between a lattice pastry star. Our Epiphany tarts have 13 flavors of jam: apple, apricot, blackcurrant, cherry, damson plum, green gooseberry, greengage plum, medlar, quince, raspberry, red currant, rose-petal, and strawberry.

Jam Tartlets - Choose from apple, apricot, blackcurrant, cherry, damson plum, green gooseberry, greengage plum, medlar (popular in Victorian times), quince, raspberry, red currant, rose-petal, and strawberry.

Lemon Cheesecake - Made with lemons, eggs, butter, and sugar. We add extra lemons to ours for a nice lemony taste. (Mid Victorian)

Macaroons (Image of macaroons - Little circular cakes made with almonds and topped with flaked almonds. (1861 recipe)

Mincemeat Pie - Made with steak, apples, currants, lemons, oranges, brandy, and spices.

Petit Fours (Image of Petit Fours) - These little iced cakes, tarts, and meringues come from France. (18th century)

Plum Pudding (Image of a Plum Pudding) - This is a richer, steamed version of the baked plum cake. It is moistened with treacle and is a Christmas staple.

Scotch Shortbread (Image of Shortbread and Another image) - The terms "short" and "shorter" refer to dry, crumbly teacakes as opposed to softer, muffin-like cakes. Our buttery shortbreads are cut into triangles (Petticoat Tails) and flavored with caraway seeds like the version associated with Mary, Queen of Scots in the 16th century. Queen Victoria is said to like hers seasoned with salt. Shortbread from Goosnargh in Lancashire combines caraway seeds with coriander. Other shortbreads are cut into fingers or served as Shortbread Rounds. (Shortbread appears in a 1861 cookbook.)

Treacle (Molasses) Pudding - This is a sweet, steamed pudding.

Trifle - A cake soaked in sherry and topped with layers of jam, berries, custard, and whipped cream.

Vanilla Slices or Custard Slices (Image of Mille-feuille) - Three layers of puff pastry alternate with layers of pastry cream. We top ours with roasted almonds. Australians like to add strawberry jam to the cream. This treat comes from France and is sometimes called Mille-feuille or Napoleon. (First appears in 1651 and improved on in the early 19th century).

Savory Pies and Puddings

We also offer a small selection of savory pies and puddings:

Beef Steak Pie - Choose from traditional beef steak pie and beef steak with oysters.

Beef Steak Pudding - Boiled in water (rather than baked) and made with a beef suet crust pastry shell.

Eel Pie

Kidney Pudding - Boiled in water and made with a suet crust pastry.

Mutton Pie

Rabbit Pie


Green tea was the most popular tea up through the 1700s. We offer a variety of fine green Hyson teas:

Finest Hyson (Twinings) - This is an expensive green tea from the best Hyson leaves. It has a light, grassy flavor.

Imperial Hyson (Twinings) - This is a medium-grade green tea.

Hyson-Skin - This is the most economical green tea.

Other green teas:

Bloom Green

Gunpowder tea - This has a smooth, grassy flavor.

Black teas have a different taste than green teas because the tea leaves are fermented and then dried. Black teas have become even more popular than green teas during the 1800s.

Black Teas and Mixtures:

Bohea - This is a black tea favored by the working class. Almost 80% of the tea from the East India Company is of this type.

Congo or Congou - This is a Ceylon black tea consumed by the wealthy. (Later known as English Breakfast Tea)

Mixed Tea - This is a popular mix that is 2/5 black, 2/5 green, and 1/5 gunpowder tea.

Pekoe - This is a Ceylon black tea favored by the wealthy.

Souchong - This is a fine, black tea with a smoky aroma.


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Food and Cooking in Victorian England: A History, Andrea Broomfield, Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2007.

History from the Hearth: A Colonial Michilimackinac Cookbook

See also See Know Your Sweets - Battenberg Cake and Battenburg Cake History and Neapolitan and Napoleon Cakes

Back to Peiraeus Public Library

Created May 19, 2016.

Updated June 19, 2016.