Letter: Cake battle

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Sir: I was fascinated to read your article about the controversy surrounding Banbury cakes and their authenticity ("Crumbs! It's cakegate", 31 October).

My family owned the Original Cake Shop in Parson's Street, Banbury, a building the origins of which went back to the 13th century, which was about the time that the recipe for Banbury cakes was suspected to have been brought back from the Crusades. Sadly the building was demolished during the Sixties.

My connections to the Original Cake Shop go back to 1818 since my family were related by marriage to the Quaker Beeseleys who formerly owned it. The Lambs of Sibford, also Quakers, ran the business between 1843 and 1868, and then my immediate Quaker antecedents from then until 1983.

For Tony Carney to claim any connection his recipe has with this past would be conjecture. His recipe appears to go back no further than Fred Warren's time.

My father and I knew Fred Warren. He at no time worked for E W Brown (Banbury) Ltd. Mr Carney can claim a traditional connection but only in that a Banbury cake is still being made, but it is not the cake many people remember.

My great aunts, the Misses C B and E B Brown, who carried on the business, kept things very closely guarded and would not have divulged any recipe to anyone but family.


Hook Norton, Oxfordshire