Yum Yum Cakes

This was a new traybake for me. But at the same time there is something familiar about these Yum Yum Cakes. Perhaps I have eaten it in the past or maybe it’s just the combination of ingredients. Or maybe the meringue layer made me start to think about pavlova.

This has a soft base layer, akin to a shortcake. Then it is topped with a meringue mixed with cherries and walnuts. So the whole traybake is a combination of soft, crunchy and sweet.

The meringue cracked when I cut this into squares, but don’t worry about that. It’s meringue and that’s supposed to happen. If aesthetics are your thing, cut as carefully as you can and you can avoid the worst of the crumbles.

Now, you are making meringue for these Yum Yum Cakes, which can be bit daunting for some. Just take a deep breath and go for it. My best advice is to make sure that your bowl is completely clean and dry. And that there is no egg yolk mixed in with the whites. Any grease in the bowl or egg yolk will be the most likely culprits for whites that don’t whisk properly.

When adding the second half of the sugar to the meringue, use a metal spoon – a large one, if you have it – and fold gently. You want to keep as much air in the meringue as possible. The same goes for when you are spreading the meringue mix over the base. Go gently and don’t press down too hard.

The rest of the bake is pretty straightforward. Walnuts are traditional here, but, as usual, don’t panic if you only have some other kind of nut available. The cherries are also traditional and I don’t have any recommendations here if you don’t like those.

Yum Yum Cakes

A shortcake base, topped with meringue, glacé cherries and chopped walnuts.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 9 squares



  • 2 oz or 55g soft brown sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 oz or 85g butter
  • 6 oz or 175g self-raising flour or plain/all-purpose flour + 2 tsp baking powder


  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 oz or 110g sugar
  • 1 oz or 30g glacé cherries chopped
  • 1 oz or 30g walnuts chopped


  • Preheat oven to 325F/160C (conventional oven) and line a 20cm/8inch square tin with baking parchment.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together.  Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla and then gradually mix in the flour.
  • Spread the mixture into the base of the tin.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff.  Beat in half the sugar. Then fold in the remainder of the sugar with the chopped nuts and cherries. Spread this mixture over the base.
  • Bake in a preheated 325F/160C oven for 25-30 minutes until golden.  
  • Leave in the tin and, when cool, cut into squares.


Keyword cherries, meringue, traybakes, walnuts


  • Shona


    I’ve just gone on Internet to try and find a recipe that my Nana used to make when we were kids (I’m now 56). I knew I’d seen it an old recipe book. This is the exact thing she used to make and am really pleased I found on your site ???
    I will be definitely making it ??

    • Jo Wise

      Shona, I’m 56 too and have also searched for this recipe for years. I lost my Mum 13 years ago and have trawled all her recipes to no avail. My Nan who lived with us used to make it for the vicar when he visited. Can’t wait to make it.

  • Jane

    Likewise! In fact this is quite spooky. My mother in law used to make it but couldn’t remember the name of it so our children called it Yum Yum cake. Could it be this recipe has been handed down from my MIL ? She would be nearly 100 yrs old now. I’ve just made it as part of our family bake off we’re doing each week while in lock down. It’s certainly brought back happy memories.

    • CJ

      Great story! Thanks for sharing. And who knows, your mother in law may have named the recipe!

    • Mirana Agius Silvio

      Hi wow, I have had this recipe passed on to me frim my late grandfather. Always wondered about the origin of this cake. Peoole thought we called it yum yum ourselves because it is delicious. I m from Malta by the way and mum always said my nannu got the recipe from his time in rhe royal service. It is our favourite cake !!

  • Sue Harlow

    My Great Aunt used to make this for us. (She was born in 1902 and died in 2001). We absolutely loved these when we were growing up and was discussing them with my cousins on a video call this evening. So I was amazed and chuffed to pieces when I found the recipe this evening when I looked it up. We knew them as yum yum cakes too and this certainly appears to be an extremely old recipe.

  • Rosie

    so pleased to find this – my grandma used to make it – no idea what she called it but I haven’t had it since I was a child. Made it for my family and they loved it. Thank YOU!

  • Liz Reed

    This exact recipe is in a Jimmy Young cookery book published in 1969 It was sent in by Mrs H Rayner, Mapperley, Nottingham . This is one of the recipes of my childhoood and my Mum still makes it to this day ?

    • CJ

      Typically you would reduce the temperature for a fan assisted oven by 20C/50F. If you have a manual from your manufacturer, that may also give guidance. I’d also suggest checking on your bakes a little earlier than the cooking times I suggest, just to be sure. If anything is browning too quickly, the cover it with foil or baking parchment. Hope that helps!