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Four Eccles cakes on waxed paper
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5 from 5 votes

Eccles Cakes with Cinnamon and Nutmeg

These sweet and flaky Eccles cakes are filled with the most delicious combination of currrants, sugar and sweet spice. Serve them as they are, or the traditional way - with a chunk of Lancashire cheese alongside. Either way, they are a classic British tea-time bake not to miss out on.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: British, English
Servings: 8
Calories: 208kcal

Ingredients

Flaky Pastry

  • 115 g Plain flour all-purpose
  • 85 g Butter chilled
  • tsp Salt
  • 75 ml Water ice cold

Filling

  • 100 g Currants
  • 60 g Demerara sugar
  • ¾ tsp Ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp Ground nutmeg
  • 15 g Butter
  • A little beaten egg for glazing

Instructions

Make the Flaky pastry

  • Divide the butter into 4 portions
  • Put the flour and salt into a bowl and stir briefly. Cube 1 portion of the butter, add to the bowl and rub in
  • Pour in ¾ of the water and mix, with a blunt knife, to a soft dough, adding more water as necessary (do not add so much that the dough turns sticky)
  • On a lightly floured worktop roll the dough into a long rectangle approx 4mm thick. Take another portion of the butter, cube it and scatter over ⅔ of the dough, leaving the final ⅓ empty
  • Fold the empty third of the dough over the top of the buttered dough, bringing it to the centre . Then fold the other end of the butter-topped pastry over the top too
  • Rotate the pastry 90 degrees and repeat steps 2 and 3. Rotate once more and repeat again. All 4 portions of butter should now be incorporated into the pastry dough
  • Rotate the pastry and roll out once more, then fold it and wrap before chilling for 1 hour in the fridge

Assembling the Eccles Cakes

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/ 400F/ GM 6 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment
  • Reserve 2 tsp of the sugar for sprinkling
  • Put the currants, spices and the remaining sugar into a small mixing bowl and stir briefly. Melt the butter, add to the bowl and mix again until the fruit is evenly coated
  • Roll the pastry out into a rectangle approx 18cm x 36 cm. Trim off any straggly edges then divide into 8 squares. (First cut down the middle lengthwise then cut both strips in half widthwise. You now have 4 rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half widthwise to form 8 approximate squares)
  • Divide all of the filling between the squares of pastry dough, using a spoon to pile it into the centre of each one
  • Dip a finger in some cold water and run it around the edges of 1 square of pastry to dampen. Gather two opposite corners of pastry up towards the centre and press together lightly. Gather the other corners up to the centre too, pushing the filling back into the centre as you do so. When all corners are gathered gently press the pastry seams together and draw the edges into the centre to form a circle
  • When you are certain all edges are sealed, turn the pastry over, so the seams are underneath and use lightly floured hands to form a circular shape. Press down very gently to form a disc (do not press so much that the fruit breaks through the pastry)
  • Repeat steps 6-7 with the remaining squares of dough
  • Brush each top with a little beaten egg and sprinkle the reserved sugar over the top. Use a sharp knife to cut three slashes across the top of each cake
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden

Notes

Baking Tips

  • Never skip the chilling of the pastry dough. It is easier to handle when sufficiently chilled and will bake to a superior texture
  • If making flaky pastry on a hot day, refrigerate the pastry for 15 minutes each time anther portion of butter is folded into the dough. And chill the assembled cakes for 20 minutes prior to baking. This is the best way to ensure the dough and butter stays cold enough to create a quality pastry
  • Ensure you roll your pastry to the right dimensions - 18 cm x 36cm - so that 8 squares can be cut from it. It will be approx 3-4 mm thick
  • Each square will be approx 9x9 cm which is sufficient to hold the filling. When sealing each square, the filling will be a tight fit - this is exactly as it should be to ensure each Eccles cake is chock full of fruit once baked
  • Divide the filling evenly across all squares before beginning to seal any of them. This ensures that all of the filling is used
  • Seal one square at a time to avoid the water drying out/ turning the pastry soggy
  • It is normal for some of the filling to fall out when sealing the pastry. Just push it back in and continue to seal, leaving no gaps for it to leak out of
  • The bottom of each cake might look rustic, but once baked, nobody will notice. It's more important to achieve a tight seal than to have a neat bottom

 

Reheating instructions

Eccles cakes can be eaten cold, but they are particularly delicious warm. If you need to reheat yours, do so in an oven pre-heated to 150C/ 300F/ GM 2 for around 5 minutes. This is the best way to ensure that the pastry stays flaky.
Never reheat your Eccles cake in the microwave. For one thing, it will ruin that beautiful flaky pastry, rendering it soggy. In addition, the sugar coating on the outside of these pastries can catch fire when reheated in the microwave.

 

Freezing Instructions

Eccles cakes can be frozen either before or after baking.
If choosing to freeze before baking, simply prepare right up to, and including, step 9 in this recipe card then open freeze the pastries on a baking sheet lined with parchment. When frozen solid, slide into a freezer container or bag, label and keep frozen for up to 2 months. Bake from frozen by laying onto a lined baking sheet and cooking for 20-25 minutes at the temperature specified in the recipe card above.
If already cooked, let cool completely and freeze as soon as possible. Let defrost fully, then reheat for 5-10 minutes to re-crisp the pastry.

Nutrition

Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 128mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 322IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg