Eccles cakes date to 1793

Eccles cakes date to 1793

In Harold Pinter’s marvellous 1957 The Dumb Waiter, the hit men Gus and Ben bicker about Eccles cakes. It’s a bit of comic relief amidst the tension that dominates the play.

But what is an Eccles cake? The small disk-shaped buttery pastry is packed with currants and, the story goes, have been baked since the late 1700s. A version of the cakes have long been baked in the town of Eccles in Manchester, Lancashire, in the northwest of London.

Though they are not really cakes, they are flaky and buttery pastries that people migh have a nibble of Lancashire cheese with, and of course as an accompaniment to afternoon tea.

The cakes pictured here are made by a Lancashire company who has been making them since the 1930s. The company claims they are the original cakes. I found them a local Walmart.

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