How To Make Civil War Fire Cakes | Survival Food Tutorial

Feature | How To Make Civil War Fire Cakes | Survival Food Tutorial | Civil War Fire Cakes

September 6, 2023 / Comments (11)

Cooking Homesteading

Fire cakes are a simple, reliable survival food. In an SHTF situation, you have to make the best with what you’ve got. Today I’ll take you back to the olden days and show you one of the Civil War recipes which require only a couple of ingredients and limited resources. I have to warn you, this isn’t a gourmet 5-star meal, but in a crisis, when food is scarce and you need to stretch your supplies to their limits. Anyone can make fire cakes because it only takes a few steps!

How to Make Civil War Fire Cakes in a Survival Situation

A Quick Overview of How to Make Fire Cakes:

1. Mix the ingredients (listed below).
2. Form into a cake.
3. Bake the mixture on a rock in the fire or over it (you can also bake it in the ashes).
4. Wait until the cake blackens.
5. Take the cake off the rock/from the fire/ashes.
6. Clean it up a little bit and eat.

A fire cake may not be up there with your favorite burger or pizza, but if you prepare survival food supplies, it will be good enough. When TSHTF, you may be in the same situation as Civil War soldiers: left to fend for yourself with very limited supplies.

Thus, knowing how to make fire cakes will arm you with the ability to prepare food, even when all you have is flour and water. When everything is gone such as grocery stores, fast food chains, as well as your own supplies, fire cakes could be the only decent food to keep you going.


Let's Get Started!


  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Bannock board/large leaves
  • Ash bed
  • Mixing bowl
  • Peel/oven spatula/(in the video: tomahawk)


Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1. Prepare Your Dough

How To Make Civil War Fire Cakes | Civil War Fire Cakes

Pour some flour into the bowl. Then add salt, and mix well. Next, add a small amount of water, and mix into a paste.

Step 2. Choose A Method For Cooking Fire Cakes

How To Make Civil War Fire Cakes | Civil War Fire Cakes

We will be using three different methods to cook fire cakes: with a bannock board, with leaves and by putting the dough directly on the ashes.

Fire Cakes #1: Bannock Board Method

Make the dough sticky so that it won't fall off the board while cooking. Flatten out the dough on the bannock board. Lay it flat and thin so that it will cook well and quick. The board has holes in it to keep it upright.

Place the board just above the coals so it won't catch fire. Put a stick into the hole on the board to prop it at an angle.

When the lower side of the patty, that which is closer to the coals, has turned brown, turn the bannock board over.

Remember to do this gently to keep the patty from dropping into the ashes.

Your cake is ready when the patty has browned up all over. It's ready to eat!

Fire Cakes #2: Leaves Method

You want the dough thin and the shape to be similar to the size of the leaves you will be using. Once you get the right size and shape, take one leaf and put the dough on top. Then turn the patty over and place another leaf on top. Add more leaves to both sides, so the leaves won't burn through.

Now place the wrapped dough on top of the coals. Cover it with white coals. Gray coals have cooled down and will not be able to cook your dough. Leave for a few minutes, or until the cake is cooked. When it's ready, gently scrape off the coals on top. Lift it off the ashes.

Next, put it on a board and remove the leaves. The cake may still be hot, so set it aside until it is cool enough to eat.

Fire Cakes #3: True Fire Cake Method

How To Make Civil War Fire Cakes | Civil War Fire Cakes

If you don't have a board or leaves to cook with, you can put the patty right into the ashes. You will get some charring on the outside of the patty. We can call this the survival method of cooking fire cakes.

The process is straightforward. Place the patty on hot coals. Then set some hot coals on top as well. Do so gently and carefully. Take note of where you put the dough and try not to bury it in the coals so that you can see if it's cooked. You can also smell the patty when it's cooking.

When it's ready, remove it from the coals and put it on a plate. Finally, take off the remaining coals and blow off the dust.

Check out these products that can help with your Civil War fire cakes:

  • This “weird canister” starts a fire, boils water, cooks your meals, power yours small electronics…
  • Keep your Civil War cakes packed tight with these storage bowls


Here is a video from James Townsend & Son to show you three ways to make fire cakes:

And that's how civil war fire cakes are done! In tough times, there is no reason to be picky. As long as it's edible, lasts for several days, any food will do to get you through.

Will you give this civil war fire cake recipe a try? Tell us how you plan to in the comments section below!

Up Next: Camping Desserts and Cocktails… And We’re Not Talking Molotov

For awesome survival gear, you can’t make at home, check out the Survival Life Store!

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Infographic | How To Make Civil War Fire Cakes | Survival Food Tutorial | Civil War Fire Cakes

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 13, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.


11 Responses to :
How To Make Civil War Fire Cakes | Survival Food Tutorial

  1. left coast chuck says:

    That’s the same recipe as for hardtack. You can also wrap the dough around a stick and cook it over a fire. It tastes better if you can dip it in bacon grease or hot coffee. Hard tack, coffee, beans and fatback is what kept both armies of the War of Secession going, especially the South.

  2. Dave~ As a Archaeologist; I award your answer with 1,000,000,000 Platinum stars.
    You are quite accurate; go to the head of the class❗BRAVO

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great job dave

  4. Anonymous says:


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