Recipe of the week: Eccles cakes

Eccles cake
Eccles cake

Cromwell banned Eccles cakes. They were considered too rich and sumptuous.

After all the festivities I often end up with a left over pot of brandy butter still lurking at the back of the fridge.

It’s not that I didn’t mean to eat it but inevitably as January comes I feel that it has had its day.

This recipe uses up the left over butter, infusing the brandy, orange and cloves into a frugal Eccles cake. Somehow I still don’t think Cromwell would approve of them - they are still seriously rich and sumptuous!

Preparation: 20 minutes

Oven: 20 minutes

Freeze: Yes

Serves: 9


1 pack (375g) sweet short crust pastry

75g softened brandy butter

200g currants

1 beaten egg to glaze

3 tbsp sugar to sprinkle


1. Preheat the oven to 180/350/gas 4.

2. Roll out the short crust pastry to about 6 - 7 mm thick. Using a 4 inch pastry cutter, cut 9 circles. You will need to cut 7 and bring the pastry together again and re roll to achieve 9. Use plenty of flour to dust with underneath and don’t over handle the pastry - this makes it tough.

3. Mix the butter and currants well together in a bowl.

4. Place the pastry circle in your left hand (I am assuming you are right handed here) and put a large tablespoon of filling into the centre (aprox 30g of filling). Bring the fingers around the circle together gently and as the pastry touches, simply pinch the pastry together using your right hand to seal the parcel. Place on a very lightly greased baking sheet with the pinched side down. Gently squash, using the palm of your hand to make it a patty shape.

5. Once all the cakes are made, brush all over with the egg yolk for a glaze and liberally dust with sugar. Cut 3 small slits on the top and bake for 18 – 20 minutes, until they are golden brown. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool before transferring to an airtight container.

Note: If you don’t have any brandy butter to hand, you can add the zest of an orange into the currants to infuse more orange into the cakes and a 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves.

Recipe by Vanessa Kimbell who runs the Juniper and Rose Kitchen Garden School in Pitsford. See