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Millionaire's Shortbread // 1970s

Great creations of the 1970s include email, Rubiks Cubes… and the treat that we know and love today as ‘Millionaires Shortbread’. Yep – these gorgeous goodies are a product of the ‘70s with the first ever recipes for them usually called ‘caramel cakes’, ‘caramel shortbreads’ (still regularly used today) and ‘caramel slices’ being published in cookbooks and magazines during the decade.
Millionaires Shortbreads are one of our absolute favourite treats, 3 out of 5 times that we end up in a café that sells them, this is the cake we’ll go for to accompany our coffees. When we spotted this recipe for ‘caramel cakes’ in our copy of The Complete Colour Cookbook (pub. 1977), we couldn’t resist the urge to make a tray of them. And trust us… they were marvellous.
Original Recipe: 'Caramel Cakes' (Book 9, 1977)
Speed: 1 hour | Serves: 16 (dependent on the size of your slices)


Shortbread Base

  • 100g butter

  • 100g caster sugar

  • 275g plain flour

Caramel Filling & Chocolate Topping

  • 150g butter

  • 100g caster sugar

  • 2 tbsp. golden syrup

  • 1 can condensed milk (390g)

  • 100g plain chocolate, broken into pieces



1. Heat an oven to 'moderate' (180° C / 350° F / Gas Mark 4).

2. To make the shortbread, cream the butter together in a bowl and then work in the flour.

3. Scatter the shortbread mixture into tray bake tin that is either greased or coated with baking paper and even this out before pressing into the tin.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the shortbread is golden. Then, leave to cool in the tin.

5. To prepare the filling, put the butter, caster sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally.

6. Once the sugar has dissolved, boil the mixture for a few more minutes, stirring constantly. The longer you boil it, the darker your caramel will be. We let ours boil for 3 minutes.

7. Remove the caramel from the heat and leave to cool for 1 minute before pouring onto the cooled shortbread base. Even out and then leave this to set and cool (ours took about an hour).

8. Melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water and pour the melted chocolate over the caramel layer, tilting the pan gently to even this out.

9. Lightly mark serving portions into the chocolate as it begins to set and then leave to cool in the tin completely.

10. Cut all of the way down along the lines using a sharp knife to make individual portions (be very careful here - the biscuit is hard to cut through!) and then remove from the tin.


Original Recipe for ‘Caramel Cakes'

'BOOK 9': The Complete Colour Cookbook (1977)

Edited By: Gill Edden

Publisher: Octopus Books Limited (59 Grosvenor Street, London, W1, England, U.K.)

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