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There is significant variation among records of Shrewsbury cake, but they seem to agree around a sort of very large shortbread with rose flavouring. The most famous maker was a Mr Pailin (or Palin, or Hailin) who reputedly began making them, a plaque on an old shop near to Shrewsbury Castle says, in the year 1760.
These appear to have developed into the now commonplace Shrewsbury Biscuit
Richard Barham's 'The Ingoldsby Legends' has "Oh, Pailin! Prince of cake-compounders! the mouth liquefies at thy very name."
(WM 1658, Wooley 1672, Moxon 1764, Family Guide 1747, etc)
Original Receipt in WM 1658;
To make Shrewsbury Cakes.
Take two pound of floure dryed in the Oven and weighed after it is dryed, then put to it one pound of Butter that must be layd an hour or two in Rose-water, so done poure the Water from the Butter, and put the Butter to the flowre with the yolks and whites of five Eggs, two races of Ginger, and three quarters of a pound of Sugar, a little salt, grate your spice, and it well be the better, knead all these together till you may rowle the past, then roule it forth with the top of a bowle, then prick them with a pin made of wood, or if you have a comb that hath not been used, that will do them quickly, and is best to that purpose, so bake them upon Pye plates, but not too much in the Oven, for the heat of the Plates will dry them very much, after they come forth of the Oven, you may cut them without the bowles of what bignesse or what fashion you please.
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