I shared this a couple of years ago, but it is the sort of delicious sounding, simple, chilly afternoon sort of a thing to make… I know most people would think a moggy is a cat, maybe not a pedigree cat, maybe just an ordinary sort of every day cat. In fact, it’s thought that a moggy was original a cat which was good at catching mice and rats, because a moggy was actually a mouse (in the north of England) Gradually a good mouse/moggy catcher would be called a moggy itself. It’s also thought by some that the name comes from Margaret/Maggie, but most etymologists think this is just a lingusitic urban myth.
Not very interested in catching anything except some zeds
However, moggy here means a cake/biscuit/cookie… Since originally writing this post, I’ve discovered some other recipes for moggy, sometimes called ‘Yorkshire moggy’, traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve by some Yorkshire folk. Moggy, as far as anyone seems to know, dates back to the 1870’s. Recipes vary enormously – some add an egg into the mixture, and ginger and other spices and ground almonds. One recipe described moggy as ‘dry and chewy’, in other recipes the sugar is supposed to be demerara, and I came across one which uses oatmeal, and another mashed potato! Sometimes it seems more of a biscuit than a cake, very dense and flat. I have seen ‘moggy with a modern twist’ with stem ginger, honeycomb. rhubarb, and even one with dark chocolate added! I think each person who makes it probably uses their mum’s or their granny’s recipes, and that, for the, is the only traditional way of making it!
Here is my original story about moggy…
I was looking through some old recipes I have and came across one for moggy, a curiously named Yorkshire cake cum biscuit; according to my notes, moggy comes from an old Norse word meaning a heap of corn… I discovered that there was an Old English word múga which meant exactly that, a heap of corn – corn wouldn’t be maize, it would be any grain… so maybe it’s so! Certainly this recipe is very, very old, and although syrup is used, I guess in the old days it would have been honey. I’ve looked up other recipes and they always include ginger, but the recipe I have makes no mention of it. This recipe is much less a cake, and more like a pastry or biscuit.
- 1½ lb plain flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 6 oz lard
- 6 oz margarine
- 8 oz syrup (some recipes have a mixture of black and golden treacle)
- 8 oz sugar
- rub the fats into the flour, salt and baking powder as you would to make pastry
- add the sugar and syrup and mix to a stiff dough with milk
- shape into two pieces 1½ thick and put onto a well-greased baking tray
- bake for 25 mins at 180°C, 350°F, gas mark 4
- serve it with butter
This recipe really does sound as if it comes out like a type of pastry scone – as opposed to some of the other recipes I’ve seen when it seems to be more like a mild gingerbread or spice cake! I think the only way to resolve it is to make some and eat it!