Halloween Harcake (aka soul-mass cake) recipe
Also known as Soul-Mass Cake and most traditionally eaten on all-souls day
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!
- 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
- Pre heat the oven to 175 degrees.
- Butter an 8 x 10 baking tin.
- Rub the butter into the oatmeal by hand.
- 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.
- Add the syrup and ginger and combine well.
- Add the egg and enough beer to make a thick smooth batter.
- Pour it into the prepared tin and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Cover it in foil and cook for another 30 minutes.
- The cake should be firm when it is ready. If not, cook a little longer.
- Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes then turn on a wire rack to cool.
- 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.
Tempting but try and leave them for the week before eating...