Eccles Cakes: Discover the Delicious Tradition and Where to Find the Best Ones

Eccles Cakes: Discover the Delicious Tradition and Where to Find the Best Ones

Eccles cakes trace back to the late 18th century in Eccles, a town in Greater Manchester, England. The first recorded commercial sale occurred in 1793 by James Birch, a local baker. Known for their distinctive round shape and rich filling, Eccles cakes quickly gained popularity. They became a staple in British bakeries by the mid-19th century and remain beloved today.

Key Ingredients and Recipe

Eccles cakes require a specific set of ingredients to achieve their classic taste and texture:

  1. Pastry: Puff pastry is essential for the flaky, buttery crust.
  2. Filling: Currants make up the bulk of the filling, providing a sweet, tangy flavor.
  3. Spices: Nutmeg and allspice add warmth and depth to the filling.
  4. Sugar: Both granulated and demerara sugars contribute sweetness and a slight crunch.
  5. Butter: Enhances richness and binds the filling.

To make Eccles cakes, follow these steps:

  1. Roll out puff pastry and cut it into circles.
  2. Mix currants with spices, sugar, and melted butter.
  3. Place the filling in the center of the pastry circles.
  4. Fold and seal the edges, then flatten slightly.
  5. Bake until golden brown.

Using these ingredients and steps, you can create authentic Eccles cakes with a perfect balance of sweetness, spice, and flakiness.

How Are Eccles Cakes Made?

The Traditional Method

Traditional Eccles cakes use a time-honored process that ensures their distinctive flavor and texture. You begin by rolling out puff pastry into thin sheets. Then, prepare the filling by mixing currants, brown sugar, melted butter, finely grated nutmeg, and allspice. Spoon a small amount of this mixture onto the center of each pastry circle. Fold the edges over the filling, sealing it inside. Flatten each filled pastry slightly and make a couple of small slits on top to allow steam to escape during baking. Brush each cake with water and sprinkle with a bit of granulated sugar before placing them in a hot oven at around 400°F (200°C) until they turn golden brown.

Modern Twists on the Classic Recipe

Modern versions of Eccles cakes introduce creative variations while keeping the spirit of the original. Some bakers use alternative dried fruits like raisins or chopped apricots instead of currants. Others add citrus zest to the filling for a fresh twist. Vegan options substitute butter with plant-based margarine and use ready-made vegan puff pastry. Some even infuse flavors such as vanilla or cinnamon to diversify the taste profile. By exploring these modern twists, you can enjoy Eccles cakes in new and exciting ways while preserving the pastry’s beloved essence.

Nutritional Information

Health Benefits

Eccles cakes, when enjoyed in moderation, offer some health benefits due to their ingredients. Currants provide dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They include vitamin C, vitamin K, and antioxidants, which support immune function and reduce oxidative stress. The cake’s puff pastry contains carbohydrates that provide energy. Although not traditionally associated with health foods, these cakes can contribute to a balanced diet when consumed responsibly.

Calorie Content and Serving Size

A typical Eccles cake weighs around 50 grams and contains approximately 200-250 calories. The calorie count can vary slightly based on the recipe and ingredients used. Each cake includes about 10 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of protein. For a more controlled portion, consider splitting one cake into halves or quarters. Here is a handy table summarizing the nutritional content of a common Eccles cake:

NutrientAmount per 50g Cake
Dietary FiberVaries
Vitamin CVaries
Vitamin KVaries

Understanding these values can help you integrate Eccles cakes into your diet while being mindful of nutritional intake.

Cultural Significance of Eccles Cakes

Eccles Cakes in British Cuisine

Eccles cakes hold a prominent place in British cuisine, particularly in Northwest England where they originated. You might encounter Eccles cakes in traditional British afternoon teas alongside scones and sandwiches. Often served warm, these pastries pair well with a cup of tea. British bakers typically adhere to the classic recipe, ensuring the cakes maintain their authentic taste.

Eccles Cakes Around the World

Globally, Eccles cakes have left a sweet footprint, making appearances in bakeries and grocery stores from North America to Australia. While the traditional recipe remains popular, you may find variations that cater to local tastes. For instance, some bakeries introduce ingredients like chocolate or use local fruits instead of currants. Despite these changes, the essence of the Eccles cake—a delightful, sweet pastry—remains recognizable.

Where to Find the Best Eccles Cakes

Local Bakeries and Cafes

Explore local bakeries and cafes in Northwest England for authentic Eccles cakes. Robinson’s Bakery in Eccles, established in 1864, offers freshly baked Eccles cakes daily. Visit Barton Grange Garden Centre, known for its cafe serving traditional Eccles cakes. Check out Slattery Patisserie and Chocolatiers in Manchester, which provides a classic version. Regional bakeries often use recipes passed down through generations, ensuring a genuine experience.

Online Retailers and Specialty Shops

Purchase Eccles cakes from online retailers and specialty shops. Consider ordering from The English Tea Store, which delivers internationally. Buy from British Corner Shop, offering worldwide shipping for UK goods, including Eccles cakes. Try The Village Bakery in Wales, which crafts traditional Eccles cakes available for online orders. Specialty shops ensure you enjoy Eccles cakes anywhere, maintaining their classic flavor and texture.


Eccles cakes offer a delightful blend of history, flavor, and tradition. Whether you’re savoring a classic recipe or trying a modern twist, these pastries provide a unique taste experience that’s hard to match. From local bakeries in Northwest England to online specialty shops, you’ve got plenty of options to enjoy this British classic. So why not indulge in an Eccles cake today and become part of a culinary tradition that’s been cherished for centuries?

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