Eccles cakes are my dad’s favourite. The honour used to belong to these but after he ate 13 in one sitting, he changed his mind. These flaky little parcels of dough are filled with a lightly spiced mixture of currants and peel. Like most young kids, I found fault with lots of food and I always thought Eccles cakes looked like they were filled with squashed flies. Now that I have matured (ha!) I am just as fond of these as my dad. It was his birthday last week so I popped these in a nice tin and that was his present sorted.
Eccles cakes are named after the English town of Eccles. According to Alexa Johnston in ‘Ladies, a Plate’, they were made as part of the annual celebrations of the rededication of the local parish church. They’re fabulous with a cup of tea and keep well for a couple of weeks.
4oz brown sugar
Pinch of nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
750g flaky (puff) pastry, thawed.
1 egg, beaten
Preheat your oven to 180ºC and line a baking tray with baking paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the peel, currants, nutmeg and cinnamon and mix well.
Cut your pastry into 4″ rounds and place a teaspoon of mixture in the centre.
Fold the edge in so the base looks sealed and there are no gaps, then flip over and place on the baking tray. Repeat until you have used up all of your pastry and filling.
Press down on each Eccles cake lightly, so they’re slightly flattened, then brush each one with egg. Using a sharp knife, make 3 small slashes on the top.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed up and is golden brown.
Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. You may like to dust them with icing sugar first.
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