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Harcake or Soul-Mass Cake

Lancashire, Yorkshire, Hereford

(or Har Cake, Soulmass Cake, Soumass Cake)

A form of thin parkin, made from oatmeal, sugar, butter, ginger and brown ale. Most traditionally eaten on all-souls day. Differs from the Midlands form of Soul Cake

Thomas Blount's 'Glossographia' dictionary of 1656 gives; "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."

Addy's 1888 'Glossary of Sheffield Words' has; "It may be that the custom of eating tharf-cakes, which obtains in Sheffield on the 5th of November, has reference to the soul mass cake formerly eaten on the Feast of All Souls and on that day distributed to the poor."   (OED)

Possibly related to Thorcake

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