Eccles Cakes

Lancashire

Eccles cakes, Banbury cakes, Coventry Godcakes, Hawkshead cake and Chorley cakes all belong to the same class. They consist of pastry, short or puff as the case may be, round as in the case of Eccles and Chorley, which are much about the same size, and in the case of the Hawkshead cake which is as large as a plate; but at Coventry taking the form of an isosceles triangle, and at Banbury made in the oval shape of a rather wide shuttle.

Each and all are filled with a special mixture partaking of the character of the mincemeat we put in pies at Christmas time.

Here is a recipe for Eccles cakes. These have been made for the Eccles ‘wakes’ from time immemorial:

‘When racing and fighting were all at an end,

To an ale-house each went with a sweetheart or friend;

Some went to Shaw’s, others Phillip’s chose,

But me and my Moll to the Hare and Hounds goes.

(Chorus)

With music and cakes

For to keep up the wakes

Among wenches and fine country beaux.’

A pretty story is told about these cakes. It is said Mrs. Raffald gave her own recipe as a wedding present to a servant who had served her well and was going to live at Eccles, and that the girl made and sold the cakes so successfully that she made a fortune.

Bradburn’s, Eccles, to-day is advertised as ‘The only Old Original Eccles Cake Shop. Never removed. On the Site of these Premises Eccles Cakes were first made. Rebuilt 1835.’ [They are at any rate about the best I have tasted, and those sold at the old cottage opposite Eccles Cross where Williams Deacon’s Bank now stands were made and baked at Bradburn’s. The cottage had no ovens].

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Ingredients

Recipe: Lancashire, 1904

  • Some short pastry. For the filling: currants ¼ lb.
  • finely chopped peel 1 oz.
  • allspice and nutmeg ½ teaspoonful
  • sugar 2 oz.
  • butter 1 oz.

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients for the mixture into a pan and heat for a few minutes, then turn into a basin to cool.
  2. Roll out short pastry (this is nicest if made of lard) to about 1 inch thickness.
  3. Cut into rounds.
  4. Place a good tablespoonful of the mixture on each round.
  5. Gather up the edges, turn over and press with rolling-pin into flat cake; make a hole in the centre of top crust.
  6. Place on baking sheet 10 to 15 minutes in a hot oven.
  7. Sprinkle with castor sugar when cakes are cooked.

Time: to heat and cool mixture about 20 to 30 minutes; to bake cakes 10 to 15 minutes in a hot oven.

[Mr. Lyle, Manager of Bradburn’s Original Eccles Cake Shop, Eccles, Lancashire, England, exhibited some Eccles Cakes at the first Exhibition of the E.F.C.A., 1931.—ED.]