Sweet, buttery and flaky; an Eccles cake is the perfect treat to savor while wandering around the farmer’s market.
While, there seems to be varying theories about the origin of Eccles cakes, there is general agreement that the first person to actually make them available as a product to be purchased by the public, was a baker named James Birch in the town of Eccles around 1780. Eccles cakes are little cakes filled with a sweet raisin mixture and baked in a flaky buttery crust. They are not yet protected to origin so an Eccles cake can pretty much be produced anywhere with a certain foundation of ingredients and called an Eccles cake.
From a culinary perspective, the exact ingredients vary from recipe to recipe, except for the flaky crust and the raisins/currants.
Some recipes call for other candied peels and fruits to be added and others call for spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla. The most delicious Eccles cake I’ve had was simply sweetened raisins wrapped in a buttery, flaky crust with a tiny sprinkling of sugar on the top.
From a health perspective, of course, any potential healthy impact will be influenced by the quality of ingredients. Quality butter and milled, heritage flour, with organic or sustainably grown raisins or currants, and demerara or muscovado sugar then at least your little treat will be more a more consciously crafted culinary indulgence.