My mother is making bunloaf today. We always have bunloaf at Christmas and my mother took over making it from my grandmother about ten years ago. The recipe we have was one my great-grandmother used at home in Liverpool and my grandmother remembered having to carry the heavy loaves on a wooden board to the bakers where they would be cooked. I assume their domestic oven was not big enough.
I thought everybody had bunloaf at Christmas until I grew-up and got about a bit more! Then I realised hardly anyone had heard of it. Every so often I google the term to see if I can find anything else about its origins and today happened across this piece which talks about its presence in Swallows and Amazons, a book I shamefully have never read. Is it true? I do hope so! It would seem from the article's references to the Cumberland coast and the Isle of Man, and my family acquiring the recipe in Liverpool that the Lancashire/Cumberland coast seems to be its main location. Has anyone else heard of it? My mother's version is very similar to the recipe quoted in the article: no eggs and definitelyy no tea or beer.
I have written about (and photographed) bunloaf in the past when writing about J L Carr and edible archaeology.