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Like many everyday articles 'fried cakes' appear, from news reports, to have been so commonplace, especially from the North West counties in the 19thCent, that nobody thought it worth describing them in any detail. While 'fried cakes' is clearly a general term for any cake-like fried object, context suggest that they were most usually patties of slightly sweetened plain dough, fried. The only contemporary receipt we can find is from the USA...
Original Receipt from 'The Housekeeper's Encylopedia of Useful Information', New York, 1861
Fried Cakes Without Eggs Or Milk
Mix with flour a coffee cup of sugar one teaspoonful of soda and two of cream of tartar, freed from lumps, pass the flour, soda and tartar through the sieve. Dissolve in a pint of hot water a heaping teaspoonful of salt and melt in the same a small table spoonful of lard, wet the flour prepared with the soda and tartar with the water and lard, work the dough quickly but thoroughly. Roll thin, cut the cakes with a jumble cutter and fry immediately. They will keep fresh two or three days. Nutmeg is an addition
The 'Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser' (19 May 1882) say that; "snowballs are made by dipping fried cakes in the white of an egg and then in powdered sugar." The 'Royal Cornwall Gazette' (1 February 1856) reports that in Lancashire; "there was very little eaten there but oatmeal, chiefly in fried cakes."
Given in J.Salmon as a specialty of Shropshire.
cf: Cake Fritters
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