Chorley Cakes

“My best thanks for your Chorley Cakes, ladies, are due;
As I eat them, of course, I was thinking of you;
And strange twinges I felt while consuming the cakes,
I prized them so much for the kind givers’ sakes;
As your gifts they appeared things too precious to eat,
But alack! When I tasted I found them so sweet,
That I tasted and tasted, and again did I taste,
Till astonished I found I had eaten the last!”
Occasional Verses by E.W. (1862)

We travel back to Lancashire for these teatime treats, known as Chorley cakes (after the market town of Chorley). They are simple enough, a shortcut pastry filled with dried fruit—in this case, currants. Chorley Cakes are a close cousin of Eccles cakes which are usually made with puff pastry.

Despite their simplicity, or perhaps because of it, they make an ideal accompaniment to a mid-afternoon cup of tea. They are sweet, but not too sweet. The pastry should be flaky and buttery. Lancashire natives have been known to put a dab of butter on top, or serve with a bite of cheese, but the pastry on its own is quite sufficient. Chorley cakes keep for several days in an airtight container and also make an excellent breakfast pastry.

P.S. We now have a store at Society6 where you can order prints, mugs, tea trays and other fine products adorned with our lovely paintings… Visit the GBCooking store!

Chorley Cakes

Chorley Cakes


    For the pastry
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp superfine sugar
  • 6 oz butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
    For the filling
  • 1 cup currants
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 oz butter, melted
  • 1 egg white


  • Preheat the oven to 375℉
  • Stir flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl.
  • Add the butter and mix with fingers (or use a stand mixer.)
  • Stir in the milk and mix until the dough comes together.
  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Mix currants, sugar and butter in a bowl
  • Divide the pastry in half. Roll out and use a 4" or 5" round cutter to cut circles in the dough.
  • Place a tablespoon of filling in the centre of each circle.
  • Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling and pinch to seal.
  • Turn over and pat lightly to flatten. The currants should almost poke through the dough.
  • Put the cakes on a greased baking tray.
  • Repeat using the other half of the dough.
  • Whisk the egg white and brush over the tops of the cakes.
  • Make three cuts in each cake with a sharp knife.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.

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