Eccles cakes

Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow
Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow 

These little pastries take their name from the English town of Eccles, where they originated. They are similar to the Chorley cake, also named after an English town, though they are made using flaky pastry rather than shortcrust. Both these pastries are traditionally served with Lancashire cheese.


1 quantity flaky pastry

1 egg white, whisked

Caster (superfine) sugar, to sprinkle


20 g (¾ oz) unsalted butter

60 g (2¼ oz/⅓ cup, lightly packed) dark brown sugar

115 g (4 oz/¾ cup) currants

40 g (1½ oz/¼ cup) mixed peel (mixed candied citrus peel)

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon mixed (pumpkin pie) spice


1. To make the filling, put the butter and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes or until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a bowl, add the remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. Set aside to cool.

2. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a rectangle, about 32 x 42 cm (12¾ x 16½ inches) and 4 mm (¼ inch) thick. Use a round 10 cm (4 inch) pastry cutter to cut out 12 rounds. Place on the lined trays and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6) .

4. Divide the filling among the rounds on the trays, placing it in a heap in the centre of each and leaving a border of about 1 cm (½ inch). Working with one at a time, bring the edges up and over to fully enclose the filling and form a ball, pressing the edges to seal. Use your hand to press down on the pastry balls to flatten them. Turn them over — the filling should start showing through the pastry.

5. Brush the pastries with the egg white and sprinkle with the sugar. Use a small sharp knife to cut three small slits in the top of each pastry. Bake the pastries for 20–25 minutes or until deep golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.