Each season of the year and the holy days therein often suggest expressions of Christian teaching brought into daily life. Even after the Protestant Revolt such cultural traditions did not die out. Soul cakes continued in many European nations.

Medieval Souling Cakes


1 ¬Ω cup plain flour (sifted)¬æ  cup sugar1 ¬Ω cubes of butter (softened & diced)1/2 tsp ground cinnamon1/2 tsp ground mixed spice1/2 tsp ground nutmeg1 egg (beaten)2 tsp of white wine vinegar¬Ω cup raisins or currants (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 F; grease 2 flat cookie sheets: set aside.

In a mixing bowl thoroughly whisk the sifted flour, spices, and sugar. Work in the diced butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in the beaten egg and white wine vinegar and mix with a wooden spoon until a firm dough is made. Cover bowl with a towel and place it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so.

Flour a working surface and roll out the dough to about ¬º inch thick. With a circular pastry cutter (or, in a pinch, the lid from a mayonnaise jar) cut dough into rounds. Place these rounds on the greased cookie sheets. With the wooden spoon’s handle or with a knife, press into or incise a cross shape into the top of each round. Press the raisins or currants into the groove of the cross or pressed into the quadrants between the lines as desired.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 F until slightly colored. This recipe makes 14 soul cakes, best when served warm.