Monday, 26 November 2012

Chorley cakes for Lancashire day - recipe

The 27th November is Lancashire day named because it commemorates the day in 1295 when Lancashire sent its first representatives to King Edward 1st's parliament.

So as we all think about the joys of living in such a fine county, here is a recipe from my local Lancashire town of Chorley. Chorley is a small market town in South Lancashire and Chorley cakes are just shortcrust pastry with currants inside. Not to be confused with nearby Eccles cakes, they don't usually have sugar inside. You could make these with leftover pastry and a few currants, I'm sure they probably originated from wanting to use up leftover pie pastry.

This is how Wikipedia describes these cakes, locally known as 'fly pie', this is because when the currants peek through the pastry they do tend to look like squashed flies! This is pie country after all folks.

Chorley cakes are flattened, fruit-filled pastry cakes, traditionally associated with the town of Chorley in Lancashire,England. They are a close relative of the more widely known Eccles cake, but have some significant differences. The Chorley cake is significantly less sweet than its Eccles cousin, and is commonly eaten with a light spread of butter on top, and perhaps a slice of Lancashire cheese on the side. A Chorley cake is made using currants, sandwiched between two layers of unsweetened shortcrust pastry. As with any regional food, every household has its own individual variations, and so it is not uncommon to see some sugar added to the fruit, or sweeter raisins or sultanas used. These sweeter varieties are sometimes referred to as "snap". 
150g unsalted butter
300g self raising flour
pinch salt
cold water
150g currants
50g caster sugar
beaten egg
1. Pre heat the oven to 180C fan. Make the pastry by rubbing the cold butter into the flour and salt until it resembles breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor for this bit (I do). Add the cold water enough to bind the pastry then leave it to rest for about 30 minutes in the fridge.
2. Roll out the pastry, you don't want it too thin at this stage, and use a circular cutter to cut rounds of pastry out.
3. Put a circle in the flat of your hand and brush the rim with cold water, add a few currants to the centre and about 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. Bring the edges of the pastry together to make a parcel and pinch the pastry sides to seal it.
4. Turn this over (pinched sides down) and roll out to a small circle, if you see currants poking through don't worry its suppose to look like this.
5. Place on a baking sheet and brush with beaten egg, bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Chorley cakes are traditionally served with a chunk of Lancashire cheese. A lovely cheese board made up of some of the different Lancashire cheeses and a stack of Chorley cakes to go with the cheeses is a really heavenly end to a meal. Or it looks quite good on a buffet table too.


  1. Ooh, they are like a Chorley version of Garibaldi biscuits (squashed flies), although chronologically, Lancashire Day came first! No sugar makes these infinitely preferable to Eccles cakes and they would be fab with a slice of Lancashire cheese. Happy Lancashire Day for tomorrow :)

    1. Thank you! These are much nicer than Garibaldi biscuits though :-))

  2. I adore chorley cakes, not had one is such a long time though. Never occurred to me to make my own and you have made it sound so easy. They look scrumptious.

  3. My great grandparents, mill workers from Burnley who moved to Massachusetts in the early 1900's, made cakes very similar to these using raisins rather than currants. They called them "Sad Cakes".

    1. Thanks for your comment and what a great story! Do you ever make them yourself?

  4. oh I LOVE these... anything sweet like this with a sharp crumbly cheese is simply heaven for me... adorable photo's too... now where is Lancashire exactly, I have some cakes to sniff out!

  5. Do you think that it would work if one were to add Lancashire cheese to the filling?

    1. Sounds like a great idea, I'd try it and see what happens, you could be on to something.


Please leave a comment...if you have tried one of my recipes I'd love feedback, and thank you for taking time to pop by to read my blog.

Susan x