Kendal Mint Cake, a beloved confectionery with a rich history, has captured the hearts and taste buds of many. This article will delve into the fascinating world of Kendal Mint Cake, exploring its origins, the art of making it, and its connection to one of the world’s greatest adventures – the ascent of Mount Everest. If you’ve ever wondered about the charm of this minty treat or how to make it yourself, this article is worth reading.
Table of contents
- A Sweet Introduction to Kendal Mint Cake
- The Sweet Secrets of Kendal Mint Cake: Unraveling the Recipe
- Kendal Mint Cake’s Connection to Mount Everest
- Making Kendal Mint Cake: The Art of Creation
- The Sweet Appeal of Kendal Mint Cake
A Sweet Introduction to Kendal Mint Cake
Kendal Mint Cake is a unique, minty confection that hails from the picturesque Cumbrian town of Kendal, nestled in the heart of the Lake District. The cake, which isn’t a traditional cake but more of a minty energy bar, has an interesting history and an even more intriguing recipe. It’s believed to have been around since 1840, and over the years, it has become a beloved delicacy and an essential source of energy for mountaineers and hikers alike.
But what exactly is Kendal Mint Cake made of? The primary ingredients include sugar, glucose syrup, peppermint oil, and sometimes dark chocolate. This combination creates a delectable treat with a strong minty flavour that has captured the hearts of many. However, the magic lies in the process of making it, which involves precise temperatures and stirring to perfection.
Now, let’s embark on a journey through the world of Kendal Mint Cake, from its humble beginnings to its significant role in the world of mountaineering and outdoor adventures.
The Sweet Secrets of Kendal Mint Cake: Unraveling the Recipe
What Is the Original Kendal Mint Cake Recipe?
The original Kendal Mint Cake recipe is a well-guarded secret of the Quiggin’s company, which has been producing this delightful treat since 1880. It’s important to note that variations of Kendal Mint Cake are available, but the traditional recipe remains a closely held secret.
To create this minty delight, you’ll need a few key ingredients – sugar, glucose syrup, peppermint oil, and dark chocolate for the coated version. The process involves boiling the mixture to a specific temperature and then stirring it continuously to achieve the perfect consistency.
Kendal mint cake recipe
- Saucepan: A sturdy saucepan is crucial for boiling the sugar and water mixture. Make sure it's large enough to accommodate the mixture without overflowing.
- Thermometer: A candy thermometer is essential for accurately measuring the temperature of the boiling sugar mixture. This will help you reach the 'soft ball' stage at around 115°C, which is critical for achieving the right texture.
- Wooden Spoon: You'll need a wooden spoon for stirring the mixture continuously while it's heating. Wooden spoons are preferred as they won't react with the mixture.
- Cake Tin or Moulds: Depending on your preference, you can use a cake tin or moulds to shape your Kendal Mint Cake. The choice of moulds can vary, but square or rectangular shapes are common.
- Grease or Baking Paper: To prevent the mixture from sticking to the cake tin or moulds, you'll need either grease or baking paper. This will make it easier to remove and cut the mint cake once it's set.
- Chocolate Melting Equipment (Optional): If you're planning to make the coated version of Kendal Mint Cake, you'll need equipment for melting chocolate. This could include a double boiler or a microwave for melting the chocolate.
- Iron Cooling Tables (Optional): While not mandatory, using iron cooling tables or a cooling rack can provide a stable surface for the mint cake to set and cool, especially if you're making large quantities.
- Measuring Utensils: Standard measuring cups and spoons are essential to ensure accurate measurements of sugar, water, and any additional ingredients like peppermint essence.
- 200g white sugar
- 100ml water
- 2-3 drops of peppermint essence
- In a saucepan, mix the following ingredients:200g white sugar100ml water
- Heat the mixture gently while stirring continuously. Ensure that the sugar completely dissolves into the water.
- Add 2-3 drops of peppermint essence to the mixture. Continue stirring to evenly distribute the essence and infuse the minty flavor.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, and maintain a steady boil while stirring. It's important to use a thermometer to monitor the temperature. Keep stirring to prevent any burning or crystallization.
- Continue boiling and stirring until the mixture reaches the 'soft ball' stage, which is around 115°C (239°F). This temperature is crucial for achieving the right consistency.
- Once the mixture reaches the desired temperature, quickly remove it from the heat source.
- Pour the hot mixture into a greased cake tin or a mold of your choice. You can use a rectangular or square mold for traditional Kendal Mint Cake shapes.
- Allow the mint cake mixture to cool and solidify in the mold. This may take some time, so be patient.
- Once the mint cake has completely set, cut it into bars or rectangles for serving.
How to Make Kendal Mint Cake at Home
While the exact Quiggin recipe is shrouded in mystery, you can make your own version of Kendal Mint Cake at home. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:
- 200g white sugar
- 100ml water
- 2-3 drops of peppermint essence
- In a saucepan, mix the sugar and water and heat it gently. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Add the peppermint essence to the mixture and keep stirring.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to stir. Use a thermometer to ensure it reaches the ‘soft ball’ stage (around 115°C).
- Once the mixture reaches the right temperature, pour it into a greased cake tin and leave it to cool and solidify.
- Cut the mint cake into bars or rectangles, and it’s ready to enjoy.
Making Kendal Mint Cake at home allows you to experiment with the flavour and texture to create your perfect treat.
Kendal Mint Cake Variations
Over the years, variations of Kendal Mint Cake have emerged. Some include additional ingredients like butter, while others experiment with the coating, using different types of chocolate. These variations cater to different tastes and provide a unique twist on the classic recipe.
Kendal Mint Cake’s Connection to Mount Everest
Kendal Mint Cake has an extraordinary connection to mountaineering, most notably with the ascent of Mount Everest. It was during the British expeditions to Everest that this minty treat gained global recognition.
How Did Kendal Mint Cake Become the Food of Choice for Mountaineers?
The story of Kendal Mint Cake’s rise to fame among mountaineers begins with Joseph Wiper, a Kendal confectioner. He is believed to have come up with the recipe for this minty delight in the late 19th century. Its energy-boosting properties and long shelf life made it the perfect choice for mountaineers who needed a compact, high-energy snack for their harsh journeys.
- Sir Edmund Hillary and the Conquest of Mount Everest
The legendary explorer Sir Edmund Hillary is often associated with Kendal Mint Cake. During his successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953, he and his climbing partner Tenzing Norgay carried Kendal Mint Cake bars. It provided them with the much-needed energy to reach the summit, a feat that had eluded many before them.
Sir Edmund Hillary’s endorsement of Kendal Mint Cake catapulted it to international fame, solidifying its status as a must-have item for mountaineers tackling high altitudes. The sweet treat had become a symbol of endurance, resilience, and achievement.
- The Legacy of Kendal Mint Cake in Exploration
Beyond Mount Everest, Kendal Mint Cake has been an integral part of various expeditions. Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1914-1917 and the later expeditions of Sirdar – a renowned mountaineer – all relied on the energy and comfort of Kendal Mint Cake. It’s a testament to the cake’s significance in providing sustenance and solace in the harshest of conditions.
Making Kendal Mint Cake: The Art of Creation
The process of making Kendal Mint Cake is an art in itself. This section will delve into the nitty-gritty of how it’s crafted to perfection.
The Role of Copper Pans
One of the key components in making Kendal Mint Cake is the use of large copper pans. Copper is an excellent conductor of heat, which is crucial for achieving the right consistency. It helps distribute heat evenly, ensuring that the mixture reaches the desired temperature without burning or crystallizing.
The Ideal Mixture
The Kendal Mint Cake mixture is heated slowly, simmering over low heat until it reaches the ‘soft ball’ stage. This is a critical step in the process, and the right ingredients and precise measurements are essential. Stirring the mixture constantly is crucial to prevent any lumps or inconsistencies.
Moulding and Cooling
Once the mixture is ready, it’s poured into moulds and left to cool. This is often done on iron cooling tables, which provide a stable surface for the cake to set. The result is a minty confection with a slightly cloudy appearance, a testament to its unique texture.
Coating in Chocolate
For those who prefer the coated version, the final step involves melting chocolate and dipping the bars into it. This creates a delightful contrast between the sweet minty interior and the rich, bittersweet chocolate exterior.
The Sweet Appeal of Kendal Mint Cake
Kendal Mint Cake has a unique appeal that goes beyond its delightful flavor. It’s not just a sweet treat; it’s a source of energy, a symbol of determination, and a reminder of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. Here’s why Kendal Mint Cake is still beloved today:
- Energy Bar: Kendal Mint Cake is known for its high sugar content, making it a quick source of energy. Whether you’re a mountaineer scaling lofty peaks or a hiker on a scenic trail, it provides a burst of vitality.
- Minty Refreshment: The strong minty flavor is refreshing and provides a welcome change of taste during challenging outdoor adventures.
- Cloudy Appearance: The slightly cloudy appearance adds to its unique character, setting it apart from other confectionery.
- Solid History: Kendal Mint Cake has a rich history, with connections to legendary explorers and adventurers. Eating it is like tasting a piece of history.
- Believed Medicinal Benefits: Some have even believed that the mint cake offers medicinal benefits. While this claim might not be scientifically proven, it adds to its allure.
Kendal Mint Cake, with its rich history, unique flavor, and essential role in mountaineering history, remains a beloved confectionery. Whether you enjoy the classic recipe or explore its various variations, this minty delight has something to offer everyone. Its journey from a small Cumbrian town to the highest peaks of the world is a testament to the enduring appeal of Kendal Mint Cake. So, next time you’re planning an outdoor adventure or just craving a sweet and minty treat, consider giving Kendal Mint Cake a try. It’s more than just a candy; it’s a piece of history and an embodiment of resilience and achievement.
A1: Kendal Mint Cake is a type of confectionery, not actually a cake, that originates from Kendal in the Lake District of England. It’s a sugary, mint-flavored treat known for its energy-boosting properties.
A2: Yes, you can make Kendal Mint Cake at home with a few simple ingredients. It’s a straightforward recipe that involves melting sugar, glucose, and peppermint oil.
A3: Absolutely! Kendal Mint Cake is known for being a source of quick energy for hikers and mountaineers. It’s portable and provides a burst of glucose, making it a handy snack for outdoor adventures.
A4: While Kendal Mint Cake is typically enjoyed on its own, some people have used it in baking or as a sweet addition to dishes. It can add a unique minty sweetness to various recipes.
A5: Yes, glucose is a key ingredient in Kendal Mint Cake. It helps give the candy its characteristic texture and sweetness. It’s not recommended to substitute it.