Derby's beloved Birds Bakery takes a trip down memory lane by revealing cake recipes from 1930s

Birds Bakery has won dedicated fans over its 100 year history | Image Birds BakeryBirds Bakery has won dedicated fans over its 100 year history | Image Birds Bakery
Birds Bakery has won dedicated fans over its 100 year history | Image Birds Bakery
Birds Bakery got into the festive spirit of sharing and caring by revealing their prized recipes from the 1930s

One of Derby’s oldest bakeries is celebrating its heritage by revealing old recipes from its archives and inviting people to share their memories from days gone by,

Birds Bakery started life as a confectioner in 1919 when it was founded by three brothers Frank, Thomas, and Reginald.

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It expanded its offering to baked goods several years later and celebrated its centenary in 2019.

The bakery's illustrious 100-year history has seen it launch 61 stores across the East Midlands, employ 750 people and delight hundreds of thousands of pastry lovers across the county.

Recipes can often be closely guarded secrets, but the good people at Birds Bakery seem to have embraced the Christmas spirit of sharing and have released recipes dating back to the 1930s.

The recipes show an ingredients list for Chocolate Cream Sandwiches and Swiss Rolls priced at 2/6 and 1/6 each.

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Birds Bakery recipes mean fans could have a go at recreating them at home | Image Birds BakeryBirds Bakery recipes mean fans could have a go at recreating them at home | Image Birds Bakery
Birds Bakery recipes mean fans could have a go at recreating them at home | Image Birds Bakery

The recipes are strict about quality control saying ‘only newly laid eggs’ and ‘thick dairy cream’ will do.

It also uses Australian flour and ‘best butter’ whilst preservatives and substitutes are ‘forbidden.’

Sweet memories

Birds’ social media post garnered hundreds of likes and comments as people got involved to revel in the nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Birds Bakery's pork pie appears to be a hot favourite with people as one fan said: “Christmas has always been a Birds pork pie. We travel a 60-mile round trip to collect them now. Part of a Christmas tradition I have carried on from my parents.”

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Some people have been fans of Birds Bakery for years and the love of their baked goods is often passed down through generations | Image Birds BakerySome people have been fans of Birds Bakery for years and the love of their baked goods is often passed down through generations | Image Birds Bakery
Some people have been fans of Birds Bakery for years and the love of their baked goods is often passed down through generations | Image Birds Bakery

It appears that once you taste Birds, there is no going back, not even the pesky problem of living in another country will get in the way.

One fan who is now 1,800 kilometres away from Derby said: “We live in Portugal and when our friend flies back, he gets us three pork pies, are we happy or what, best in the whole world.”

Another fan who loved the Burton cafe said: “Eating in the upstairs café in the Burton shop with my mum. Strawberry milkshake, sausage roll and a chocolate eclair. Best times!”

One customer who had cakey memories dating 40 years said: “The boxes of little cakes, I think they were called French Fancies, I think there were nine in a box and all different flavours - coffee, chocolate, vanilla, orange spring to mind. They were around in the 1980s when I was living in Derby.”

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The taste of good food is long-lasting and can stay forever, as an 80-year-old Birds’ fan discovered.

She wrote: “[It was 1953] as a 10-year-old I was eagerly awaiting my aunty and uncle coming off the coach from Derby to Leeds for their two week holiday, loaded with cake boxes from Birds Alvaston. Although I am now 80-years-old and live in Leeds, I can [still] taste those cakes today. So sorry we do not have Birds here, thank you for the memories xx.”

Cakes from Birds Bakery's early days sure seem to have made a big impression. 

One cake fan said: “My first memory was the assorted boxed fancy collection and the large vanilla cake covered with a chocolate topping and green sprinkles. I can still remember the taste.”

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Birds Bakery trifles also appeared to have firm fans as one person said: “Birds trifles are the only trifles I've ever liked and the sponge cake with chocolate on top with green nuts. They both need to return.”

It is more than just a bakery - Derby is deeply woven into Birds Bakery's fabric and very essence of being, such is the outpouring of people’s memories and emotions towards its recipes.

Jamie Bird, Director of Strategy at Birds Bakery, said: "While recipes may just be a collection of ingredients and instructions to some, at Birds Bakery, they are the heartbeat of our heritage. Each recipe is a testament to our commitment to quality.

“The enduring nature of our recipes not only encapsulates flavours and ingredients that have stood the test of time but also carry the essence of the passion and dedication that bakers have poured into our creations for over 100 years. 

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“We hope with every bite, people taste the love and craftsmanship that have defined us for decades.

“We see generations of families coming into our bakeries, so it really isn’t an understatement to say that our loyal customers as well as our recipes connect the past with the present.”

To find out more about Birds Bakery visit their website by clicking here