Eccles cakes aren't cakes, but as you can see in this recipe, are, in fact, a small flat pastry filled with dried fruits and spices. The popularity of the little cakes has not waned in centuries, because not only are they delicious but also extremely quick and easy to make.
Read the brief history if this delight of the British baking kitchen below.
- 1lb 2oz (500g) puff pastry
- 1oz (25g) butter, melted
- Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
- 1oz (25g) candied peel
- 4oz (110g ) sugar
- 8oz (225g) currants
Pre-heat oven to 425F/220C/Gas 7
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and butter and cook over medium heat until the butter is melted.
- Take the pan away from the heat and ,add the currants, candied peel and nutmeg to the melted sugar and butter.
- On a lightly-floured surface, roll the pastry thinly and cut into rounds of about ¼ inch (0.5cm) thickness with a 4inch/10cm diameter.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet with a little butter. Place each cut round onto the board.
- Place a small spoonful of filling onto center of each pastry circle.
- Dampen the edges of the pastry with a little cold water and draw the edges together over the fruit and pinch to seal. This may look a little thick in the center, but turn the patty over, and then press gently with a rolling pin to flatten the cakes.
- Snip a V in the top with a pair of scissors to help steam escape during cooking then brush the cakes all over with cold water and then sprinkle each cake with a little extra sugar.
- Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and place the Eccles Cakes on a wire cooling rack and leave them to go cold (though they are also rather tasty lightly warm - you choose.
- Try not to eat them all at once but be warned, they are very moreish.
The History of the Eccles Cake
The village of Eccles once stood on its own, with the Eccles Cake Shop at its heart. In 1793, James Birch’s shop on the corner of Vicarage Road in Eccles began selling the small, flat, cakes. The once village is now a part of Salford, Manchester, and no trace of the original shop remains. Read more on the history of the cakes as told by Salford City Council, who should know the story.
Purist of the Eccles cake will frown at the following suggestion if you fancy a change substitute a few currants for dried cranberries (craisins). Or for a genuinely adult version, consider a few teaspoons of brandy in the fruit mix.
Based on a recipe courtesy of Salford City Council