Soul Cakes

by Samsoul-cakesFollowing our “All Hallows Eve by Lamplight” tours of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park on Saturday evening, we’ve had a couple of requests for the Soul Cakes that we gave out during the tour.  Knocking on doors for soul cakes was the precursor to modern day trick or treating and was often accompanied by a song:

“Soul! Soul! Soul cake!
Please good Missus, a soul cake!
Apple, pear, plum or cherry
Any good thing to make us all merry
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all”

The following recipe will need to be tweaked for dietary requirements (that goes without saying) but here you go – an authentic Victorian recipe that perhaps one or two of the people we talk about on our tour around Tower Hamlets Cemetery ate themselves.

Happy baking!

Soul Cake Recipe (makes 14-16 biscuits)

  • Ingredients:
  • 340g plain flour (sifted)
  • 170g granulated sugar
  • 170g butter (softened and chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C and grease 2 flat baking trays with the leftover butter.
  2. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together well (flour, sugar and spices).
  3. Then rub in the chopped butter until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.  Add the beaten egg and white wine vinegar and mix with a wooden spoon or knead until the dough is firm.
  4. Wrap in cling film or place in sealed container and refrigerate for 20 mins.
  5. Flour surface and roll out dough to ¼ inch (6mm – 7mm) thick and cut out rounds using a large cookie cutter.
  6. With a cylindrical chopstick or wooden skewer, gently press a cross shape into the top of each round (don’t press too hard or the cookie dough falls apart).
  7. Place rounds onto the baking tray and bake at 200C for 15 – 20mins until golden.

The ending biscuit has a ginger snaps/shortbread similarity and is utterly delicious. So delicious that after our tours on Saturday a number of people got in touch saying that they’d made their own! Here’s Jacquitravels last night getting into a Great British Death-Off with the recipe:

Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 12.41.14.png

Celebrate All Souls with these tasty treats – lets us know how yours turn out!

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About misssamperrin

Long standing cemetery tour guide, lover of all things Victoriana (especially mourning customs, social history and quirky characters), The Ruts, All Hallows Eve and dogs.
This entry was posted in Halloween, Recipe and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Soul Cakes

  1. Pingback: Any good thing to make us all merry. – Magical Theory

  2. They look and sound delicious!

  3. misssamperrin says:

    We attempted to pay homage to the Great British Bake Off as well as offer visitors a taste of Victorian England – Sheldon’s soul cakes beat mine hands down 🙂

  4. Going to try these tomorrow. Think these could become a real favourite. Thanks

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