Started February 2011
I remember eating Kunzle cakes "Showboats" in the 1960's. A thick chocolate shell, containing cake, topped with butter cream and a small chocolate, there was a round one, a square one, orange and chocolate cream.
Unlike a 1966 car, examples of which you may still encounter, you will not find any 1960's Kunzle cakes, and even if you did and were allowed to eat them, they'd not taste like they did in 1966. Short of time travel all that is available is someone's idea of what the cakes were like.
Forty years later this is how to make a memory of a "Kunzle" cake. Click the pictures to view full size.
First melt plain chocolate and spread around paper cup cake cases. Silicone cup cake cases work well too. Leave for the chocolate to set and finally peel off the case, to produce a chocolate shell.
Bake small sponge cake buns. It is good if these are slightly smaller than the chocolate shells produced above. For example using two sizes of paper cup cake cases or silicone and paper cases. Insert the cake into the chocolate shell.
Make butter cream, flavour with chocolate, cofee or a mixture of both.
Top off the cake in the shell with butter cream.
Add a small chocolate to the cake, could be a chocolate drop made from spare melted chocolate, or a slice of chocolate truffle.
Sit back, turn on Radio Caroline, listen to a new Beatles song, it's 1966.
Real Kunzle cakes had smooth chocolate shells the above have a crinkly edge from the cup cake cases.
In November 2015, some years after I wrote the above, John Papworth sent me a photograph of an original packet, shown below, and gave me permission to use it here; click to see full size.
Until I saw this photograph I'd been working from memory. John commented "...each cake was individually wrapped in cellophane, they were sold in a six pack in the sixties and early seventies and individually in a a display pack of 24. They became relatively expensive compared to other cakes and were moved to a 4 pack mid seventies but volumes declined and they were discontinued in the late seventies. Waitrose expressed interest in the 90's and they made them under license for a year sold individually from their in store bakery fixture."
Oh how I yearn for Kunzle cakes. In 1976 I had terrible flu complicated by being pregnant. My mother in law fed me Kunzle cakes and weak tea. Now I hate weak tea but have never forgotten the yummy cakes. Please will someone make them again?!!
Some of them had diamond shaped jellied sweets on top.
I also wish someone would bring back kunzle cakes again as they were delicious.
How well I remember how delicious these things were!!! Surely some enterprising company can acquire the recipe for these. I mean the original recipe, not a copy for DIY Kunzle cakes! Whoever made a replica of the original would be on to a real winner - Bring Back The Kunzle Cake.
I loved Kunzle cakes in the 60s. The shell was very thick and my mum would take my brother Paul and I for afternoon tea in Leytonstone to a store called Bearmans. Someone must bring them back they were delicious. I would love to see a picture if one.
I also loved these cakes which my Father used to bring for a special treat.
I'm sure that they had mousse as a filling not sponge? Whatever, somebody PLEASE bring them back. Sooo delicious xx
A special treat cake why can't they be made again ? I'm sure it was mouse inside as well not sponge they were very special
We had a grocers shop in Walkden and my Dad used to sell Kunzle Cakes. We, as his children, used to eat all his profits (he kept telling us).
My Dad used to buy us one every Thursday after shopping in Hodgson and Hepworth. They did indeed have like a smooth mousse like filling. Never tasted anything the same again.
Kunzile cakes wow what memories of childhood treats Sunday tea with malt loaf and tinned fruit with Evie milk with bread and butter if we were really lucky a kunzile cake to finish off good days.
I was born in 1961 and distinctly remember Kunzle cakes. They had sponge AND a mousse type cream filling. They were scrumptious. They must have been made into the 70’s as I don’t think I would have remembered them so clearly.
Unbelievable been talking about these with the missus. Thought they were Cadburys at first! So pleased to find them at 52 thought I might be going mad! Kunzel cakes! Had totally forgotten flooding back soon as I saw it!
I was 15 and worked in my holidays at The George Hotel in Reading possibly in 1958 I was a porter and regularly sent across the road to Marks and Spencer's to buy Kunzle cakes and fruit cake slabs for afternoon teas! They were very popular with the guests .
Have just so enjoyed reading this thread about kunzel cakes - I had a sudden memory of them the other evening and text my twin sister to ask her if she remembered them too and she sent me your photo and thread - seeing those yummy cakes - the pink one was my fave and she liked the chocolate button one - happy memories of weekend tea times! Thanks for sharing Belinda
I’m sure you are aware, Lyons Cakes bought the Kunzle brand in 1968 from Scribbans-Kemp. I joined Lyons Cakes van sales division in Feb 1980, just as production of the Showboats was coming to an end. The reason Lyons stopped making them was because they became too expensive, and were only sold in small amounts, which could not justify production. If I remember correctly they were hand decorated, which would account for their higher that normal price. I recall the last pack I sold was circa: £1. I only got to try the odd packet, but I do recall they were a cake that could not be matched by any other cake on the market at the time.
I loved the showboat cakes, my favourite was the orange one. I used to bite the chocolate from around the sides, then lick out the orange. How i wish they would make them again, along with mint cracknel bars, green strands of sugar surrounded by chocolate and a frys five centres bar. Orange, strawberry, raspberry, lime and pineapple fondant in a bar . Also the milk tray bars with the lime barrel, happy memories.
My mother used to buy these fabulous cakes in the 1950's when my brother and I were boys.She was a spoilsport and only let me eat one!I could have eaten the lot at one sitting!They were not only beautiful to look at,but absolutely delicious to savour.What a treat in that gray old world.Mother said they were quite expensive,but that meant nothing to hungry schoolboys.
I loved these little cakes and was interested to come across your page and recipe. On that subject I wonder if they would be more reminiscent of the original if the buttercream was either French, Italian or Swiss meringue buttercream? The chocolate shells could be made smooth by using a silicone mould – I have one designed for making friands which are oval shaped. I feel some experiments in the kitchen are due!
Thanks for the memory. Coventry in the 50's. There was Kunzle, Pattersons. ? and Elisabeth's all in the city centre. Perhaps it was post war reactions but despite the economic reality they all thrived.
I wish kunzle cakes could be bought now. Mm mm wonderful memories.
Liz from Worthing
Thanks for the memories, David! I would say Kunzle cakes were definitely around in the 50's, when we would buy one on the way home from school - they weren’t in packs of 4 then, and I don’t remember them being called “Showboats”. I think they were wrapped in coloured “silver paper”, not cellophane. Very rich and special - today’s fans of “cupcakes” would love them!
I remember an idilic holiday at the Luttrell Arms Hotel in Dunster Somerset in 1961 where Kunzle cakes were always served at teatime. We always made sure we were back from trips in time for tea!
When I was about 5 years old in 1949/1950 and living in a small village just outside Birmingham, I am pretty sure that my father worked for Kunzle cakes for a while, as I remember him bringing some home on the odd occasion. They were fantastic! He then went to work for 'Bird's Eye, and we had frozen peas instead. Oh dear !
kunzle cake Austrian or Swiss family i think they were amazing bring them back
I grew up in Kent in the 1950s and when we visited an aunt and uncle in London their special treat for us was a selection of Kunzle cakes. They were amazing. Wish someone like Mr Kipling would replicate them.
I’m an audiobook producer recording a title which mentions Kunzle Cakes and I was wondering how 'Kunzle' was pronounced by those who ate them?
I'm assuming it's like 'koontsler' (as in this audio clip: https://forvo.com/search/Kunzle/) but I don't want to ruin anybody's fond memories by not checking.
Back then we didn't know the Swiss origins of the name, and pronounced it as written in English. This is how I pronounce 'Kunzle' <audio clip>
I used to go to a tearoom In the 1950s in Shoreham by sea when I was about eight with my Parents and little brother and I always had Kunzel cakes there but I called them council cakes!
Glad I'm not the only one to remember these yummy cakes. I was brought up on all types of cake as my father was a baker but nothing compared to those -I am 70 now but still remember the exquisite taste!
Peter G. S.
We moved into a post office and general store, in Hampton, Middlesex, in March 1964. I have always thought that Kunzle cakes came to us from Pandora Cakes. In those days each cake co had its own van sales teams. Pandora disappeared at some point. My impression was that shortly after, the Mr Kipling van began to call. Can anyone back up my recollection, or correct me if I am wrong?
Our annual holiday was Hove travelling by steam train our treat was to visit Palace pier Brighton walk to the end to the cafe, we took my cousin David (we stayed with my aunt). One Kunzel cake with the choice of cakes and my mum always let David have it. Perhaps that’s why I grew up like a did but what happy memories; the sun always shone.
I started work in Birmingham, I was 15, my weekly wage was £2 !
Every now and then I would treat myself to a Kunzle cake, I cannot remember how much they were.
My favourite was the orange mousse filling, cake on the bottom, dark chocolate slabs round the sides, an orange jelly sweet perched on the top, then wrapped in cellophane.
The lady Manageress of Kunzles lived next door, (I think her name was Faith).
I married in 1959, and had my reception in Union St, the branch she managed, she made it all so special.
That was fifty years ago, and I have never forgotten those gorgeous cakes.
Ian & Sue
We were watching the TV Programme about Mr Kipling cakes and our thoughts went back to their forerunners, the Kunzle Cakes.
We are from Birmingham and like the Coventry Contributor we remember Kunzles and Pattisons shops in our City Centre.
These cakes were for a treat and the sort of thing that would be bought for family special teas!
We think that the factory was in Garretts Green in Birmingham, does anyone know if they were made elsewhere?
I had always been under the impression that they were made and sold locally. I was surprised to see comment from all over the UK.
I remember them from the 1950’s in Birmingham. As you say a wonderful treat. I seem to remember they had a shop at the Five Ways which was close to my school. Thank you for posting this as it has triggered so many memories for me of those days.
I remember that during the seventeen years that Sarah Kennedy presented her early morning radio 2 programme "The Dawn Patrol" which ended in 2013, Kunzle cakes became the focus of attention for a while after someone wrote in with a memory of them and it was developed by other listeners, to the point where some firm latched onto the idea and remade them. I think it was Waitrose that sold them with some success, but it was short lived and they were eventually discontinued.
Why don't Lyons bring them back?
Omg I’ve always told my husband about these ..he’s younger than myself ..I absolutely loved these ..please Lyons bring them back original recipe please 😋
The Kunzle Cake was amazing. Really enjoyed reading everyone's' memories of them. As a family, they were our 'Saturday Treat'; Fuller's Walnut Cake was a favourite as well. Would someone please make them again?
These were an occasional Friday night treat my mum would buy. I remember so clearly the individual cakes in cellophane wrapping, to my 5 or 6 year old eyes they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen and I was allowed to choose my own from the local coop. I remember a layer of sponge and mousse, like others have written I remember licking out the mousse and cracking the chocolate shell. Yes please bring them back!
My mother Winnie Keen worked at Kunzle Garrets Green, she used to bring home “seconds” that were sold in the factory shop, some had sponge missing and some were just A solid block of chocolate, I remember the day trips On the coach, I particularly Remember a trip to cheddar gorge and then onward to Weston Super Mare.
I grew up in the UK in the 50’s and 60’s and these were the treat to end all treats! We had these for all special occasions - I well remember how each one was individually wrapped in cellophane. Years later, in 1976, I was back in the UK with my husband and I looked everywhere for them. Managed to find a little shop in St. Ives that had them, and I was ecstatic! Many times things you remember from your childhood don’t taste anywhere near as good as they did when you try them as adults, but these were exactly the same!
Wish they would come back again!
I have a cake server engraved C Kunzle. (Click the pictures to view full size)
So delighted to see how many others enjoyed those unbelievably mouthwatering treats. My mother used to buy the occasional box of 6 as a special treat. I, too, yearn for them to be produced again.They could never be compared to any other variety of cake. My memories of them are from the 1950's.
I have been reading what is on the net about Kunzle cakes - I ate a lot of them as a small boy - but mainly the round chocolate enrobed truffle/moose filled ones enrobed in dark chocolate. They were absolute heaven! The 'Showboats' were a bit on the sweet side, for me.
I was having a vague and fanciful thought of re-manufacturing them from my private kitchen! Now I remember those as round, about 2 1/2 inches by 1 1/2" with a slightly crinkled top and tempered chocolate wrapped in cellophane. The inside seemed to contain cake and ganache - but I don't remember the cake being in layers - do you? I rather remember the cake as being in chunks and surrounded by a chocolate ganache - but then I had just bitten into them and was not analysing them!
It was less sweet than the showboats and quite the best cake I have ever eaten.
My grandfather, for parties, apart from all the home-cooked foods had a van from Kunzles arrive at their home in Coventry to add trays of their delights to the event, my Mother told me. Probably in the 30's.
Ahh Kunzle Cakes. Like KA, I never enjoyed the Show Boats as much as the ones they described so well.
We used to get them from the Express Dairy shop at Shooters Hill, SE London. They sold Show boats in boxes but the round ones in boxes and individually. Just on another topic the UD milkman(3 wheel float) used to sell a chocolate milkshake called a "Micky" that rivalled the Kunzle Cakes for their addictivness, used to be in coke sized bottles with a crown top. Good memories.
Just thought of the cakes and looked them up and was amazed at the amount of comments. I was born in 1953 and these were a real treat with our Sunday afternoon tea. The box of six sat tantalising on the table. As an only child I got to pick two!! I loved them and am thrilled to see they have a large fan base.
Used to have them as a treat at the Kardomah in Birmingham.
For Linda1 - Frys 5 centres are still available though hard to find. I have seen them in discount stores (eg: Buyology) and also on eBay when I was looking for packs of chocolate for Christmas.
I also remember Kunzl cakes. I think the mousse-like filling was a light whipped butter cream. Probably made using emulsifiers and stabilisers not available to home bakers. If you are trying to make at home, an ermine butter cream (mixed with creme patissier) or German butter cream (mixed with custard) and whipped until very light would come quite close. I made a chocolate cake this week and filled it with ermine cream flavoured with orange oil. My first thought on tasting it was "mmmmm....kunzl cake!"