Associated with the village of Stalmine, near Poulton-le-Fylde, 'tosset' may be a corruption of 'St. Oswald'. Very similar to the nearby Goosnargh Cake. See also Grasmere Gingerbread
A Tosset Cake
St James' Church, Stalmine, originally called St. Oswald's
Very much obliged to Bevan Ridehalgh for passing on the following...
Original Receipt in Lancashire Magazine;
Up until the First World War, this whole area (Stalmine) celebrated an event known as the Tosset Feast. The day was celebrated in some style with the likes of wrestling and horse racing – and everyone ate Tosset Cakes.
This feast undoubtedly went back centuries to an old Wakes Day. Wakes Days were holy days when the rushes covering the earth floors of churches were renewed with great ceremony. This was done on the Saint’s Day applicable to the church and, since holy days were effectively holidays, the wise dedicated their church to a saint whose Day occurred in summer.
Stalmine’s church – the roots of which go back to Norman times - was dedicated to St. Oswald. St. Oswald’s Day is August 5th so why were the celebrations held around that date called the Tosset Feast? The answer is simple, or so they say - St. Oswald’s Feast... T’Oswald Feast... Tosset Feast.
Ingredients: Tosset Cakes:
1lb (450g) of plain flour,
1lb (450g) of butter,
4 oz (110g) of caster sugar,
1 teaspoonful (5 ml) of caraway seeds and 1 teaspoonful (5 ml) of coriander seeds.
Method: Sieve the flour and sugar into a bowl, rub in the butter, add the seeds and mix well to form smooth dough. (In Tosset Cakes the seeds are usually crushed before being added to the other ingredients.) 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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