Monday, April 28, 2014

Soul Cakes (an SRC bonus!)

Last week, a call went out on the Secret Recipe Club's facebook group page that they needed help for a blogger whose assigned blogger was having trouble putting up their post.  With how busy I have been, I haven't been all that creative, cooking and baking wise, unless it's been challenge-related. So I immediately volunteered.

The blog to which I was directed was Lavender and Lovage, run by the amazingly impressive, talented and fantastic Karen. I had never visited Karen's blog before, but I can now guarantee that I'll be a regular visitor. Because WOW. She is amazing. And she's writing a cookbook of British recipes, which I can't wait to see!

I had a bit of a tough time deciding what to make, because there were so many amazing choices. But I finally chose to try a recipe for something called "soul cakes." I had never  heard of soul cakes before, but apparently they are traditional in British history, and are made in celebration of All-Soul's Day, which falls on November 2nd each year.  Karen described the soul cakes as kind of a cross between a scone and a biscuit. And looking at her amazing photos, they reminded me a bit of tea biscuits from one of my favorite bakeries. So I decided to give them a try!

The recipe is simple and straightforward. The "hardest" part is separating three eggs.

I did make two slight changes in the recipe. I omitted the currants (again - we'd just had the hot cross buns and my kids don't like dried fruits in their baked goods enough for me to do it too often...), and I chose to use my chai masala as the "mixed spice" that is called for in teh recipe.

The chai spices were whisked into the flour while the butter, sugar and egg yolks did their thing in the mixer.

Once the flour mixture is added, the resulting dough is rolled out...

...and cut into rounds using a biscuit cutter.

Yes, I still use a drinking glass as a biscuit cutter. It works great!

The soul cakes are marked with a cross, and I chose to sprinkle a bit of cinnamon sugar on top of them, as well.

And then they bake!

These came out as pretty rich cookies, and not very much like the tea biscuits I'd been thinking about, but they still pair extremely well with a cup of tea, and are a very delightful treat.  They are really delicious, though I think that next time (and yes, there will be a next time!) I will make them smaller, more like traditional cookie sized.

Karen, I thank you for your beautiful and inspirational blog and I can't wait to learn more about British cooking from you!

Chai-Spiced Soul Cakes
(only slightly adapted from Lavender and Lovage)

175 grams butter
175 grams caster sugar
3 egg yolks
450 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice (I used 1 teaspoon of chai masala)
100 grams currrants (I omitted)
a little milk to mix (I needed just about a tablespoon)

Preheat oven to 390 degrees (F) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the egg yolks, one at a time.
Sift the flour into another bowl with the mixed spice, then carefully add it to the butter, sugar and egg yolk mixture.
Stir in the currants, if using,  and add just enough milk to make a soft dough, similar to scones.
Roll the dough out (I made it between 1/4 and 1/2 an inch thick) and cut out little cakes with a biscuit cutter (or drinking glass!). Mark each cake with a cross and then place them onto the prepared baking sheets.
Bake the cakes for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack and the store in an airtight tin for up to 5 days.



  1. I also love her blog, and subscribe to it - very interesting recipes, great writing, she is a wonderful blogger

    You picked a very nice recipe for your job this month!

  2. Karen has some great recipes, I'd not seen this one before but how fascinating! :)

  3. What a great recipe! I will definitely give these a try...just visiting from Group B! Enjoyed this post very much.

  4. Nicely done! Never heard of soul cakes, but I want them for breakfast tomorrow.

  5. What an interesting recipe - I love seeing unique things featured like this that I've never even heard of before. Great pick!!

  6. How unique! The chai spice in them sounds awesome :)

  7. How interesting! Anything chai sounds delicious to me. Great pick this month :)

  8. This is definitely a new to me recipe~ Great pick for SRC~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

  9. Thank you so much for helping out Group C! These are adorable little cookies! :-)

  10. How nice of you to step up, and I love the cultural lesson. Yum.

  11. I love Karen's blog too - I can't wait for the month when I get assigned to her blog for SRC. I love the sound of these cookies - what's not to love about something called "Soul Cakes"?! i love your idea of using chai masala for your spices.


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