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hot cross buns, easter,kendall mint cake,eccles cake

hot cross buns

“Have your cake and eat it”
a trip through regional British cakes


Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!
If ye have no daughters,
Give them to your sons.
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns.

The cry of the street vendors as they carried their wares through the streets, a tray of buns perched on their heads.
Easter time has come around again but sadly the street vendors are no longer.
Hot Cross buns have long been a symbol of Good Friday. Today they are sold in bakery shops and supermarket bakeries throughout the Easter season. Each bun has an icing cross on top to signify the crucifixion.
Although this tradition has been going on for centuries the real roots go much further back.
The British history has along association with paganism the cross on the top of the bun would have originally have represented the four quarters of the moon.
Early Christians would have reinterpreted the meaning to signify the crucifixion.
In 1361, a monk named Father Thomas Rockcliffe began a tradition of giving Hot Cross Buns to the poor of St Albans on Good Friday.
In the years that followed, many customs, traditions, superstitions, and claims of rejuvenation, protection from evil and were associated with the buns. In the 16th century, the Roman Church was banned in England, but the popularity of Hot Cross buns continued. Queen Elizabeth I passed a law banning the consumption of Hot Cross Buns except during festivals such as Easter, Christmas and funerals.
Eccles cakes
1793 was a good year for cake making in the town of Eccles.
James Birch began to sell his small flat raisin filled cakes

Starting a culinary legend.
Although traditionally made in the town from where they get their name, Eccles cakes are now known throughout the world. As early as 1818 they were said to be sold "at all the markets and fairs around and were even exported to America and the West Indies".
The word 'Eccles' means church 'Eccles Wakes' took place at the church in Eccles and afterwards there was a fair at which food and drink were sold, including of course, Eccles cakes.
In 1650, when the Oliver Cromwell gained power, they banned the Eccles Wakes and subsequently the Eccles cakes, which they considered to have pagan significance due to their juicy and exotic richness.
St John in London’s Smithfield has always served Eccles cakes with Lancashire cheese a great combination.
Lardy cake
More of a bread than a cake this came about when fruit and spices became available to the British in the 17th century the recipe was developed using a basic bread dough with the fat content being lard rendered from pigs with the addition of sugar spices and dried soft fruits. It was called lardy cake in the West Country, lardy johns in Sussex, dough cake in Buckinghamshire and in Suffolk there was something similar called Fourses Cake.

The cake that isn’t
The Kendal mint cake is not really a cake at all a sweet containing a high amount of sugar and glucose, something that has helped its legend.
Sir Edmund Hillary took the sweet to the top of mount Everest as a good source of energy, available in a small size.

A mistake that went well, according to myth a confectioner was trying to make glacier mints, when his attention wandered, only to discover that the contents of his pan had turned cloudy and grainy, he kept it anyway and upon trying found it to be delicious.
The recipe is credited to
Joseph Wiper, who produced the cakes in his shop in the 1800s. His great nephew, Robert Wiper, supplied Kendal Mint Cakes as energy boosters to the 1914-17 Arctic Expedition under the command of Shackleton.
Here in the UK are many regional cakes but many do not travel out of the borders of their County, so the only way to find the new and the old is to travel slowly and enjoy eating cake!

© 2009 paul hughes Contact Me