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Sad Cakes or Desolate Cakes


Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Durham, Northumberland

Currant-filled shortcrust patties of plain paste, larger and flatter (c 7ins diameter,½in thick) than either Eccles cakes or Chorley Cakes and rolled so that some of the currants show through. Baked, fried or griddle-cooked.

Sad Cake

The name appears to derive from 'sad' as a term for cakes which have failed to rise, though in this case they are made of plain paste and not intended to rise. Given in 'The dialect of Leeds and its neighbourhood (1862) by C Clough Robinson as; "SAD-CAKES. Cakes knodden with dripping, without 'rising,' i,e, yeast; and generally baked in a frying-pan over the fire."

'The rural life of England' by William Howitt (1841) has; "When they had trudged with us for many a weary mile, through moss and moor, they would hang the girdle upon the peat-fire, and in a wonderfully short time have those delicious little kettle-cakes, or as they call them, sad-cakes, made of pastry, and thickly dotted with currants smoking on the tea-table."

Original Receipt from

Lancashire Sad Cakes

A great way of using left over pastry to make a tasty tea-time treat.

Roll out pastry put a handful of currants, some sugar and a lump of butter into the centre. Moisten the edges of the pastry and bring the four corners together like an envelope. Turn over and roll out to the thickness desired. Put in a hot oven (200ºC / 400º C, Fan 170ºC, Gas Mark 6) for twenty minutes.

Compare with: Fatty Cake and Lardy Cake

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