Eccles Cakes were first producedway back in the mists of time, well over three centuries ago anyway. Though called a cake they are, in fact, more of a pastry along the lines of a madeleine.
The origin of these cute little pastries (cakes?) can be traced to the town of Eccles, formerly within Lancashire, but now a suburb of Manchester.
The word ‘Eccles’ means ‘church’, derived from the Greek ‘Ecclesia’ It is, therefore, only reasonable to assume that the town takes its name from the old church, constructed in 1111 A.D, around which the town grew. Each year during the passing centuries a Service has been held at the church to celebrate its construction.
These became known as the ‘Eccles Wakes’ and were followed by a fair where food and drink were available in abundance, including the ever more popular Eccles Cake. (Pastry?)
Either way, they are well worth the effort to make at home, especially when eaten still warm with a nice cup of tea.
N.B. It is said that Oliver Cromwell, in 1650, banned the eating of Eccles Cakes due to his Puritan belief that they had pagan connections.