Cranberry & Peppermint Honey Cake: Hail To The Mothers!

This dense, rustic fruit cake is inspired by a long forgotten baking tradition-the offering of honey cakes to the goddesses of old. For hundreds of years across North Western Europe, the night we now know as Christmas Eve, was once called Mothers Night. The Mothers or Matrones were revered female deities and from the 1st to 6th century their night kicked off the celebrations of Yule with plenty of revelry, feasting -and yes, plenty of honey cakes! Not a typical fruit or spice cake, it is made with the herbs, fruits and nuts that would have been available at the time.

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Whether its through wildcrafting, plant medicine, kitchen witchery or seasonal celebrations, I believe we can enhance personal, community and planetary well-being by connecting with mother nature!

16 thoughts on “Cranberry & Peppermint Honey Cake: Hail To The Mothers!

  1. What a load of nonesense. Modraniht was documented only among the Anglo Saxons and the Norse (where it went by the name Disablot). There’s nothing Celtic or Roman about it, the cult of the Matrones had NOTHING to do with the Saxon Modraniht (which was probably related to the Disir or the Valkyries).

    1. Well, I may be guilty of oversimplifying but I don’t think it’s nonsense… While the Anglo-Saxon tradition of Mother’s Night is best known, the Mothers “cult” was practiced across Northwestern Europe-which obviously included the lands of the Celts. This link discusses Celtic links to the Mothers. According to this link and this source, their shrines, votive stones and altars have been found as far as Scotland, Spain and Portugal, Germania, Gaul, and Northern Italy – making it quite likely that some form of Mothers Night was celebrated in these countries, although in Scandinavia it was called Dísablót, festival of the disir, the tribal soul-mothers, as you point out.

      I certainly did not mean to imply that the Mothers were official goddesses of the Celts or the Romans, only that (as suggested in this link )” German and Celtic tribes who were either living in or else in close contact with the Roman Empire raised thousands of votive altars with inscriptions celebrating “The Mothers” – Mothers of the tribe, Mothers of federations of tribes, Mothers of rivers, Mothers of towns, Mothers of clans, Mothers of lands, as well as countless “Mothers” whose functions clearly overlap that of goddesses – and they are also often called “deae” – “goddesses” – goddesses of healing, prosperity, justice, fate, abundance, war, truce, pledges, fortune and so on.”

      This is a great post with loads of info.

      Rudolf Simek author of Dictionary of Norse Mythology does link Bede’s Mōdraniht with the Gallo-Roman Matres and Matronae, the Northwestern European divine ancestral mother figures, and sees their worship as different from the later Norse practice of the Disir and Dísablót.

      Thanks for your comment, I will clarify the post.

      1. good reply to EE, it’s difficult for some people to get past themselves. I think the pics you included speak for themselves as to the ‘mothers’. Enjoyed the article & recipes.

  2. Mrs Widds, who is the baker in our house, is now in possession of the recipe and has decided to bake it for us on Midwinter Solstice Eve.

    The three women together reminded me of the Maiden/Mother/Crone aspect of the Divine Herself. 🙂

    Thank you for putting so much of your Self into each of these posts. I’m so glad I came across your blog.

    1. Thank-you so much. Honoured. Tell Mrs. Widds that the recipe is far from perfect so she should feel to improvise as she sees fit! And yes, I do believe the Mothers draw a direct line from that ancient Trinity.

  3. Sorry but I may have missed the recipe for this lovely traditional cake please? I’d love to make it for Yule! Thank you for sharing – I adore your site! Blessed-be

    1. Thank-you so much! The link to the full post and recipe is at the bottom of the blog post, just click through where it says “view original post”.

    1. The link to the full post and recipe is at the bottom of the blog post, just click through where it says “view original post”.

    1. Perfect for Yule! Link should be at the bottom of the blog post, just click where it says “view original post”. It should take you through to the full post and recipe. Good luck!

    1. Hi there! It should be at the bottom of the blog post, just click where it says “view original post”. It will take you through to the full post and recipe. Good luck!

  4. I can’t help but notice that “Modraniht” at least APPEARS to have the Brythonic word “Modran” inside it…which means “The Mother”, a la “Mabon’s (The Son’s) mother was Modran (The Mother).” Check the Mabinogi.

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