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Banbury Cakes

I made these as part of my Food in Film project, they feature in Brief Encounter one of the greatest films ever made. Most modern recipes seem to differentiate Banbury cakes and Eccles cakes purely by shape, with the former being oval, however I believe traditional Banburys were a lot more different. I'm not going to claim this recipe is for 'traditional' Banbury Cakes because it's not. They were a lot flatter and not made from a flakey pastry. They also contained rum and or rose water. I opted to use rum (with an alternative of orange juice for those who don't want to use alcohol) as I know it works well with spiced fruits given it's my go to for xmas bakes. I have to admit, I have my reservations about rose water because off the other flavours involved although I will try it one day. I've also included what I believe are the traditional spices used. These do make a nice tea time accompaniment and are a great way to use up leftover dried fruits from xmas.

Makes 6-8

Hands-on Time 15 minutes

Baking Time 24 minutes


60g Unsalted butter (softened)

15g Plain flour (plus extra for dusting)

50g Honey

15ml Spice rum or Orange juice

1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp Ground mace

1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp Ground Cloves

160g Currants

40g Peel

1 Egg (large)

40g Demerara sugar


Baking sheet

Baking parchment

Mixing bowl


Rolling pin


Small bowl


Pastry brush

Wire rack

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C(Fan)/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a bowl combine the butter and flour to make a paste, then add the honey and rum/orange juice followed by the spices, stirring each time.

Finally add the currants and peel and stir once more until evenly coated in the spiced paste.

Flour a worktop and rolling pin and roll the pastry out into a large rectangle about 5mm thick.

Divide the dough up into 12-16 even sized portions using the knife.

Place half of the portions of pastry evenly spaced apart onto the lined baking sheet. These will be the bottoms of the pastries.

Spoon the filling onto the pastry bottoms.

Break the egg into a small bowl and beat using a fork.

Brush the edges of the pastry around the filling with the beaten egg.

Cover the filling with the remaining pieces of pastry and press down the edges to make a seal. Cup your hands around the filling as you do this so you make it in an oval shape.

Using a knife trim away excess pastry so that it only has a 1cm edge around the oval filling.

Slice across the tops of the pastry 3 times to expose the filling.

Brush the tops of the pastries with the beaten egg before sprinkling over the demerara sugar.

Pop the baking sheet into the oven for 24 minutes until the pastries are golden.

Remove from the oven, transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.



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