Soul Cakes

  • Yield : about 20 small cakes.
  • Prep Time : 10m
  • Cook Time : 15m
  • Ready In : 25m

The recipe

Soul cakes have been baked in Britain and Ireland since well before the 14th Century at the end of October at what is now known as Halloween.  They were referred to as souls, were given out to soulers (mainly children and the poor) who would go from door to door singing and saying prayers for the dead while begging for cakes (known as souling).  Each cake eaten would represent a soul being freed from Purgatory. The cakes are usually filled with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger or other sweet spices (see this mixed spice recipe), raisins or currants, and before baking are topped with the mark of a cross to signify that these were alms. We have used chocolate butter icing to form the cross once the cakes are cooked.


  • 185g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 155g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125ml milk
  • 375g self raising flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 90g currants
  • 90g sultanas
  • For the butter icing.
  • 3 tsp butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted, and extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder


Step 1

Preheat oven to 220ºC/Gas Mark 7. Grease muffin trays.

Step 2

Cream the butter and sugar together, add the egg and mix well, then add the milk and stir in.

Step 3

Sift together the flour, spices and salt and then gradually fold into the mix. Add the currants and sultanas and mix in.

Step 4

Spoon the mixture into the individual muffin moulds and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a wire tray to cool.

Step 5

To make the butter icing for the cross put the softened butter in a small bowl, add the icing sugar and cocoa powder and mix well. Lightly dust the cooled cakes with a little sifted icing sugar and then pipe the butter icing on the top in the shape of a cross. Allow the icing to harden before serving.

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