Eccles cakes originated in the Lancashire town of Eccles, just west of Salford, which is now subsumed into the massive urban sprawl with Manchester at its heart. The name is a bit of a mystery, and most people know it from the cakes but also if you are of a certain age, a character in the Goon Show. The town has a long history but boom time came when the textile mills arrived.
Eccles cakes are quite simple, pastry wrapped round a generous quantity of currants. The top is slashed before baking, its dusted with sugar and comes from the oven golden and delicious I would guess a pastry like this has been made ever since people made pastry and had currents, however James Birch was the first person known to have sold them in 1793.
Banbury cakes are similar and they are much older – their recipe dating back to the 1580’s and before. They are similar but have other ingredients such as peel and spices. Another similar cake is the Chorley cake but this is made with plain pastry, not flaky, and the filling is squidged down within the pastry so it’s flatter. This makes it ideal to spread butter on!
The reason I’m thinking of Eccles cakes is that they have a significance in my latest Radwinter novel – they play an important part in a mystery Thomas Radwinter is attempting to solve. I confess I’ve got behind with this novel, and I’m not sure exactly when it’s going to be published, but I hope it will be within the next month! On the downward trail now!
In case you haven’t read my other Radwinter novels, here is a link:
My featured image is on another fruit and pastry ‘cake’ – a God cake, a wonderful speciality from Coventry! This has to be the champion! If you are anywhere near this magnificent city, seek out God cakes!