Baked puff pastry pasty containing sweet mincemeat. Folded into a triangular shape, glazed, marked with three slits or lines on the top and sprinkled with sugar. Godcakes are a New Year tradition in the city, and are given by godparents to their godchildren at Easter. The triangular shape and the markings may be a reference to the Holy Trinity.
Image: Alex Bray
'Notes and Queries' by "JWS" in the 'London Standard' of Wednesday 24 September 1856 notes that; "Coventry God-Cakes. - Can any of your readers give me information respecting the ancient custom in the city of Coventry of sending God cakes on the first day of the year. They are used by all classes, and vary in price from a halfpenny to one pound. They are invariably made in a triangular shape, an inch thick, and filled with a kind of mincemeat. I believe the custom is peculiar to that city, and should be glad to know more about its origin. So general is the use of them on January 1, that the cheaper sorts are hawked about the streets, as hot cross buns are on Good Friday in London."
Although modern Godcakes are typically like triangular pasties, our correspondent Ron Shuttleworth - from Coventry - says that
"I could find no illustration which showed them as I know them and the one recipe made them very differently. It's not an equilateral triangle and is as though someone has tried to do it without having seen one.
This sounds remarkably like the traditional Jewish 'hamantaschen' tarts which are a feature of the Purim holiday, and which look like this..
Image: Esquires Coffee Houses
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