Scripture Cake

Historically, the recipe for Scripture Cake called for just that: scripture. Here, we've simplified this classic recipe so you don't have to thumb through your Bible.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
2 (9-in.) loaves

Historically, the recipe for Scripture Cake called for just that: scripture. Rather than typical ingredients, the traditional recipe included a list of Bible verses instead, requiring the baker to call on her knowledge of scripture to make the cake (or at least compel her to thumb through the Old Testament). "One cup of Judges 5:25," for instance, meant that you needed a cup of butter. Some historians believe the cake originated in England or Ireland in the late 1700s, but the first printed version of the recipe has been attributed to a June 1897 issue of the Atlanta Constitution (now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Scripture Cake was especially popular in southern Appalachia in the late 19th century, where it was used as a 2-in-1 tool to teach young women to bake and to commit Bible verses to memory. Here, we've simplified the recipe, so you don't have to thumb through your Bible with shortening on your hands. And because it makes two loaves of the fruitcake-like sweet, you can keep one for yourself and bring the other to a church potluck or share it with a new neighbor. How's that for gospel hospitality?

Scripture Cake
Greg Dupree; Prop Stylist: Heather Chadduck; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall


  • 1 cup (8 oz.) salted butter, softened

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 6 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon table salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

  • teaspoon ground ginger

  • 3 ½ cups (about 14 7/8 oz.) all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for pans

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 cups raisins

  • 2 cups fresh figs, stemmed and chopped

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted slivered almonds

  • Vegetable shortening, for greasing pan


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Beat butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add honey; beat well. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

  2. Stir together baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and 3 cups of the flour in a bowl; add to butter mixture alternately with water, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating well on low speed after each addition.

  3. Toss together raisins, figs, almonds, and remaining 1/2 cup flour in a small bowl until well coated; gently stir into batter.

  4. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 9- x 5- x 3-inch loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour, 5 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely, about 2 hours.

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