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Goosnargh Cake


Shortbread cake, about 4 ins diameter and 1/2 inch high filled with coriander or caraway seeds and covered in sugar. Available (2012) at Goosnargh Post Office and traditionally sold at Easter and Whitsun and eaten with ale. Very similar to the Tosset Cakes from nearby Stalmine, and possibly with a similar history. Compare, too, with Wirksworth Wakes Cakes. One of many Wakes Cake treats across the North, but written records of the Goosnargh Cake seem to pre-date all others.

Goosnagh Cakes
Image: http://www.slowfood.org.uk

The 'Lancashire Evening Post' - Wednesday 27 July 1932 - has; "What are tosset cakes. Granny?” Well, tosset cakes is same as Goosnargh cakes, Garstang Fair cakes, Stalmine Club Cakes, and Pilling Cakes. They’re all the same, but different sizes and different names. Butter and sugar and flour, with spices and seeds, and not too much cooking, that’s all they were and very good and wholesome they were, too, I can tell you.”

Known at least since the mid-19th century, when they were described as "the far-famed Goosnargh Cakes" in the 'Preston Chronicle' of Saturday 18 June 1859...

Saturday 18 June 1859, Preston Chronicle

See also: Goosnargh Duck

Original Receipt in Lancashire Magazine May 2012;

1lb of plain flour,
12oz of butter,
5oz of caster sugar,
2 teaspoonful of caraway seeds

Method: Sieve the flour and sugar into a bowl, rub in the butter, add the whole seeds and mix well to form smooth dough. Leave the dough in a cool place overnight. Then roll this out to about 1/4” (6 mm) thick. Using a cutter or glass, cut out rounds of about 2” (50mm) diameter. Place these on a floured baking board and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 ºF/180 ºC/Gas Mark 4. Do not allow them to brown; they are baked when just firm to the touch – which should take 15 to 20 minutes. Allow them to cool and then thickly cover them with icing sugar.
When your work is done, put the cakes in an airtight container and store them away from your partner and any children!

For a list of northern Wakes Day traditions, see the end of the Winster Wakes Cakes page

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