British Mixed Spice

British Mixed Spice

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Maureen Martin


This traditional English spice mixture is also referred to as pudding spice or cake spice, and is frequently used in holiday foods. Its closest relative may be the US pumpkin pie spice mixture which is an acceptable substitute if you're in a pinch. However, they may both have evolved from the medieval Powder Forte (the medieval Powder Douce is believed to have had sugar added to it, with similar spices to Powder Forte).

Like all spice mixtures, ingredients and proportions will vary from recipe to recipe. Cooks should experiment to see which combinations they prefer.


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10 Min
No-Cook or Other


  • 2 tsp
    ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp
    grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp
    ground allspice
  • 2/3 tsp
    ground cloves
  • 2/3 tsp
    ginger powder
  • 2/3 tsp
    ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp
    ground mace

How to Make British Mixed Spice


  1. Mix all ingredients well together and store in airtight container.
  2. Feel free to adjust proportions to your liking.

    Other spices sometimes included are cardamom, caraway, and black or cayenne pepper.

    Can be used in breads, desserts, fruit dishes, and (as medieval people would have used it) in meats and other savory dishes. Start with extra small amounts until you know how your pallet reacts to it (see my recipe for Medieval Leeks and Mushrooms: instead of adding the spices listed there, use this mixture).
  3. You can, of course, start with whole spices and grind them in a mortar and pestle or electric spice grinder (aka coffee grinder set apart for grinding only spices - nothing nastier than spices that taste of coffee! [although spice residue ~can~ make for yummy coffee...]).

    I would start with a 2" piece of cinnamon bark to see how it compares to the 2 teaspoons ground needed for this recipe. Adjust as necessary; some sticks are fatter than others.

    Whole nutmeg, of course, is best grated by hand (hold the knuckle cheese, please!), but well worth the effort at any time. Whole mace may be difficult to find, despite the fact they are from the same plant.

    If you want to go the extra mile, ginger is a fibrous root and would require drying before being ground. Only use fresh (un-dried) ginger if you aren't planning to store the mixture (or just leave it out of storage and add fresh to each dish as needed. Just remember to add it!).
  4. Keeps over a year if stored cool*, dry, and dark (despite what some food snobs may say). Spices, after all, are used to preserve food.

    You can easily use it up to 2 years with a little degradation, but after that, some of the flavors may begin to go off and not meld properly, become bitter, or just plain fade (nutmeg and coriander are likely to fade first).

    Just don't leave it sitting on the counter with the lid off longer than a minute or so (yes, that little time, especially if you live in a humid climate). Moisture and air = fast track to stale dry goods.

    FYI, one plastic zipper bag is NOT sufficient for long term storage. If that's all you have, double bag it, being sure to press out all the air.

    *Not frozen or refrigerated! For some reason, cold temperatures (as opposed to cool) can unpleasantly alter flavors (learned that the hard way with coffee).

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