- Butter 50g • 717 kcal
- light muscovado sugar 100g
- currant 175g
- mixed peel 50g
- 2 lemons zest
- Ground cinnamon 1 tsp
- Ground cloves 2 pinches
- egg white 1
- Granulated sugar 2 tbsp, for sprinkling
- Butter 175g, in one block • 717 kcal
- Plain flour 225g
These sweet and warming pastries are traditionally made in Lancashire, England, and go extremely well with a cup of tea or coffee.
More of a round, flat pastry than a traditional cake, they have a currant filling sandwiched between flaky, buttery layers of pastry. This cake recipe has been around for hundreds of years, although no-one knows who first created it.
The cakes are named after the town of Eccles, and were first made and sold commercially by James Birch in 1793. The recipe has been kept alive by the Edmonds family who have been making pastries for over 75 years, and the firm Real Lancashire Eccles Cakes is the world’s largest producer of Eccles cakes.
Homemade Eccles cakes are surely better than the shop-bought kind, and although it may seem a bit of a chore to grate the frozen butter into the flour, you’ll not regret the extra time spent when you taste these heavenly pastries.
The night before you plan to make the cakes, wrap the butter for the pastry in foil and freeze.
The following day, tip the flour into a big bowl with 2 pinches of salt. Hold the butter block in the foil (peeling back a little at a time as you need), then coarsely grate straight into the bowl of flour, dipping the end of the butter into the flour every so often to stop the butter clumping together.
Use a round-bladed palette or cutlery knife, and lightly stir together.
Stir in about 125ml cold water to bring the dough together.
Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins.
To make the filling, melt the 50g butter, then mix in the muscovado sugar, currants, mixed peel, zest and spices.
Heat oven to 400F/200C/180C fan/gas 6.
Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a 20p piece. Use a 15cm cutter to stamp out 6 rounds, re-rolling the trimmings if necessary. Divide the filling equally and place in the middle of each round.
Brush the edges with a bit of water. Pull up the edges all around each one and pinch to seal.
Turn over the cakes so the seam is underneath, and lightly roll with a floured rolling pin to a flat round.
Re-shape to a neat round. Whisk the egg white with a fork until frothy. Use a pastry brush to brush it over the tops of the Eccles cakes, then sprinkle heavily with sugar.
Slash the top of each cake 2-3 times to allow the steam to escape.
Put on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 mins until golden and crisp. Put on to a cooling rack as soon as you remove the cakes from the oven. Enjoy warm or cold with tea or coffee.