All Souls’ Day and Soul Cakes

As the nights begin to draw in and the days get chillier we are fast approaching All Souls’ Day. Sadly All Souls’ Day has been overtaken by the far more commercial Halloween over recent years.

But this day, celebrated on 2 November, dates back over 1000 years and was founded to honour the faithful dead. Children would go ’a-souling’, singing a traditional rhyme:

“A soul-cake a soul-cake,
Please good missus a soul-cake.
One for Peter, one for Paul,
Three for Him who saved us all.”

Their reward would be a spiced biscuit marked with a cross which was called a Soul Cake.

Ingredients - makes 24

6oz (175g) caster sugar 6oz (175g) softened butter
The yolks of 3 medium eggs 1lb (450g) plain flour
Pinch of salt 3oz (75g) currants
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice or ground allspice Small amount of warm milk


  1. Heat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until fluffy and beat in the yolks.
  3. Sift the flour, salt and spice into the bowl and fold into the mixture along with the currants. Add sufficient warm milk to make a soft dough.
  4. Divide into 24 pieces, form into flat cakes and place on a greased baking sheet or baking parchment. Mark each biscuit with a cross.
  5. Bake for 10-15 mins or until golden brown.

These are particularly tasty eaten warm.


Soul Cakes - All Saint's Day