A soule cake, a soule cake,
Have mercy on all Christian soules
For a soule cake.
These cakes(biscuits really) sometimes called Soulmass Cakes were traditionally made for All Soul’s day - 2nd November. Souling is a tradition which is traceable back to the year 1000, but may be older, which involved saying mass to aid souls on their way through purgatory.
There are lots of recipes, some involving nutmeg, some oats, some ginger, so I’ve put together this recipe which works - I’ve eaten the evidence! - and keep things fairly simple. Feel free to add any bells and whistles - whatever you feel is good for the soul.
Soul Cake Recipe
Makes about 18
100g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
250g plain flour
1 pinch turmeric
½ tsp mixed spice
1 tsp allspice
2-3 tbsps milk
Cut the butter into cubes and leave in a warm place to soften
Turn on the oven to 180c/165c fan
Melt a little butter and brush 2 baking trays
Sift the flour into a bowl and add the spices
In a large bowl mix the butter and flour with an electric mixer till pale and fluffy
Add the egg yolks and mix
Add the flour and spices a little at a time and mix
Add the currants and stir in
Add the milk one tbsp at a time until you have a dough that comes together with your fingertips
Roll out onto a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thickness and stamp out the cakes with a 6-7 cm round cutter. Transfer to the baking trays
With the back of a knife blade lightly score a cross on each one
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and firm.
The cakes will keep for a few days in an airtight tin.
The dough can be frozen for later use - just make sure it’s completely defrosted.
Josie Beszant and/or Ian Scott Massie, both artists from Masham North Yorkshire, Uk.