Her maternal great-grandfather, József Spiegel (Tüköry), was a building contractor, helped István Széchenyi build the Chain Bridge. Her faternal grandfather, Károly Krenmüller (Tormay), took part in the 1848-49 revolution as an army major. The Tormay family received nobility in the late 19th century.
Her mother was Hermin Barkassy. Cécile Tormay was a private student, she studied literary works in German, Italian, French and Latin. She translated the Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi into Hungarian.
She published a book (An Outlaw's Diary (Bujdosó könyv, 1925, literally The Proscribed Book)) about the events of the 1918–1919 revolution, protesting against the subsequent communist government and regretting the division of the kingdom of Hungary. She was a great admirer of Mussolini. In 1932, on the tenth anniversary of the March on Rome, she met the Italian dictator, presenting him the good wishes of her Hungarian women's league in a speech in Italian.
She accused the Jews in Hungary of biologically corrupting the Hungarian "race". She is known for two novels (People of the Rocks (Emberek a kövek között), 1911. The Old House (A Régi ház), 1914) and five short stories.