We love a cake or bake in the UK. It’s one reason why The Great British Bake Off and afternoon teas are so popular. We have such a rich variety of baked goods to choose from, it goes far beyond scones and Victoria sponges. I touched upon this when I made Chelsea buns, but different regions have different delicious baked goods that they’re rightly, very proud of. There are Yorkshire tarts, Manchester tarts, parkin, Welsh cakes, stottie cakes, Scottish tablet, Dundee cake, barmbrack, Cornish pasties, and so much more. Today, I decided to pick a bake from my past and make some Eccles cakes.
Eccles cakes, coming from the town of Eccles in North West England, are round pastries filled with spiced, buttery currants. The puff pastry is then sprinkled with sugar before baking to give it a caramelised sweetness on top. They are absolutely delicious and remind me of my childhood. My dad always used to have Eccles cakes in the cupboard as he liked to have one in his work lunchbox. Unfortunately for him, my sister and I were also partial to them and would sometimes sneak one, savouring each forbidden bite. I haven’t eaten one in at least 15 years so I was really looking forward to making them.
Aside from making my own puff pastry (which I can totally do!), the recipe was really easy. The spiced butter and sultana mix was so tasty, I kept eating sultanas out of the bowl before it was ready. The recipe was nice and simple, but the construction was a little more difficult. It reminded me of filling the gyoza a few weeks ago, as you had to wrap the pastry around the filling. The only problem was that there was far more filling than pastry and as hard as I tried, I ended up with a small hole in nearly all of them. I squished them down and hoped for the best…
Ok, so all of them had holes in the bottom, not to worry because they tasted amazing. I had a real Ratatouille moment when I tried one, like the food critic in the film, I was back in my childhood home tasting one for the first time. We often talk about smells igniting memories, but taste absolutely has the same effect for me. Even though they didn’t come out perfect, it was all about the taste for me, and it turns out my husband, who gave me the greatest review when he told me I had to take them away from him before he ate them all!