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The start of Saturnalia was 17th December when the Romans would celebrate by eating a big feast. Afterwards, they would shout "Io Saturnalia!" in celebration. Have a go at making your own Roman feast with our recipe below.


You will need:

300g caster sugar

225g butter

2 eggs

300g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

1tsp cinnamon

A pinch of salt

250ml milk

1tbsp cider vinegar

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

250g chopped apples

Some chopped walnuts to scatter as a topping


Close up of a roman feast


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a cake tin (a rectangular cake tin 9 x 13 inches is about the right size)

2. Combine the milk with the tablespoon of cider vinegar. This may make it look a bit curdled but that's ok! Add the teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and set aside.

3. Beat the sugar and butter together and then add the eggs and mix well.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon and baking powder.

5. Carefully combine the wet and dry ingredients together to make a cake batter and stir in the chopped apple

6. Pour the mixture into the greased tin and scatter some walnuts over the top

7. Put into the oven for 30 - 40 minutes until baked (you can test by inserting a skewer and seeing if it comes out clean)

8. Serve!

9. Optional extra: dress like a Roman while you eat your cake!