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Winster Wakes Cake


"At Winster Wakes there's ale and cakes"

Sweet enriched wheatflour biscuits with egg and currants, associated with the annual Wakes holidays at Winster near Matlock. Some known receipts indicate a small biscuit-size product, and such are commonly made in Winster at Wakes time, though the version sold there year-round is a very large 'the size of a saucer' (c6ins dia) low-bake product. The designation 'cake' suggests that the large form is likely to be the original, and that, unlike Shrewsbury Cakes which have unverally shrunk to biscuit size, the Winster Wakes Cake remains one of the last of the old-English wheat cakes.

One of many Wakes treats across the North - there is a similar, version from nearby Wirksworth.

Procession at Winster Wakes 2013
Directly outside the home of Foods of England - Denver House, Winster

Original Receipt in 'Derbyshire Courier' - Saturday 14 March 1914

Winster Wakes Cake
Flour. 1 3/4 lb. 3/4 lb sugar. 3/4 lb butter, 1/4 lb. currants, one teaspoonful carbonate soda and three eggs. Melt the butter before putting into the flour and cut into various shapes. Miss E. WHEELDON. Ravensworth, Victoria Crescent, Sherwood. Nottingham.

A correspondent to the 'Canadian National Magazine' (v18, p201, 1932) tells that; "Mrs. Fletcher of the Bank House, Winster, Matlock, has sent me samples of Winster Wakes Cakes, which are rather like Shrewsbury Cakes in appearance, short and rather thin with scallopped edges and containing a few currants."

Original Receipt from Peak District Online

Winster Wakes Cakes
225g plain flour
170g butter
170g castor sugar
1 egg
30g currants

Rub the flour and butter together and add the sugar and currants, then mix to a stiff dough with beaten egg. Knead a little, roll out,and then cut into rounds the size of a saucer. Place on a greased tray and bake in a moderate over until pale golden brown

Original Receipt from 'Feast-Day Cakes from Many Lands' by Dorothy Gladys Spicer, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup butter
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons dried currants
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Yield: approx. 4 dozen cakes [sic.]

Cream the butter and sugar. Sift together dry ingredients. Beat egg until thick and light. Add to the first mixture. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, mixing the dough thoroughly.
Roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick. Press in currants. Cut into 3 1/4 inch rounds, sprinkle with coarse sugar, and bake in moderate oven until done.

There is a song of unknown origin:
Winster Wakes there's ale and cakes
Allton Wakes there's trenchers
Birchouer Wakes there's knives and forks
Sheldon Wakes there's wenches.

2. This is it and that is it
And this is a morris dance, sir
Me father fell and broke his leg
And so I took a chance, sir.

3. I dunna know, you dunna know
What fun we had in Bampton
Piece of beef and an old cow's head
And pudding baked in a lantern.

4. My new shoone they were so good
I could dance the morris if I would
And if in a hat and coat be dressed
I'll dance the morris with the best

5. Morris dance is a pretty tune
Lads and lasses plenty
Every lad shall have his lass
And I'll have four and twenty

6. A toast let's call to one and all
And new ones we're befriending
There's none so dear as them right here
And a song that's near to ending

An account of Winster Wakes
Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald - Saturday 2 July 1870

For other Wakes Day traditions, see:
Currant Bread
Fruit Shortcake Biscuit
Hindle Wakes
Tosset Cakes
Wakes Cake
Westhoughton Pasties
Wirksworth Wakes Cake
Garstang Fair Cakes
Goosnargh Cake
Pilling Cakes
Stalmine Club Cakes

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