- Keep in a tin for a week before eating

Halloween Harcake (aka soul-mass cake) recipe

Also known as Soul-Mass Cake and most traditionally eaten on all-souls day

13w ago

My granny always made this Harcake recipe for Halloween.

We used to laughingly call it hardcake because it is a kind of dryish crunchy oatcake, but it has a delicious ginger tang and just reminds me of this time of year.

I thought it was a Lancastrian thing, but I read it was also made in Yorkshire and Herefordshire.

It is also known as Soul-Mass Cake and it’s most traditionally eaten on all-souls day which this year is the 2 November, so you just have time to make it.

It's mentioned in Thomas Blount's 'Glossographia' dictionary of 1656 as:

"Soul-masse-Cakes, are certain oaten cakes, which some of the wealthier sort of persons in Lancashire [1674 adds Herefordshire, &c.] use still to give the poor on All-Souls day.”

It seems we are meant to give them away, so make them and let's see what happens!

Harcake or Soul-Mass Cake

A type crunchy oatcake with a ginger tang traditionally eaten on all souls day.


  • 55g of softened butter
  • 450g fine oatmeal
  • 350 ml golden syrup
  • 4 tablespoons of ground ginger
  • one egg whisked
  • a small bottle of brown ale


  1. Pre heat the oven to 175 degrees.
  2. Butter an 8 x 10 baking tin.
  3. Rub the butter into the oatmeal by hand.
  4. Put the oatmeal mixture into a food blender. I use the Kenwood K mixer attachment for this but you can do it by hand if you prefer.
  5. Add the syrup and ginger and combine well.
  6. Add the egg and enough beer to make a thick smooth batter.
  7. Pour it into the prepared tin and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Cover it in foil and cook for another 30 minutes.
  9. The cake should be firm when it is ready. If not, cook a little longer.
  10. Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes then turn on a wire rack to cool.
  11. When cold, cut into squares and put into a tin and keep it there for a week before you eat - its's what my granny did and it certainly improves during the week.

Have you tried this recipe? Share your photos & thoughts in the comments below

Simple ingredients

Simple ingredients

Tempting but try and leave them for the week before eating...

Tempting but try and leave them for the week before eating...

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