British Recipes > Essex Spice Cakes

How to make Essex spice cakes:
Originally these cakes were probably a regional religious feast day cake or biscuit like Banbury cakes and Shrewsbury biscuits. These always contained fruit and spices. The use of rosewater in cooking was very common right up to the 20 century.


1 cup caster/superfine sugar
2 cups + 2 tablespoons plain flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon rosewater
1 pinch of ground mace
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons currants
(see measure conversions for more information)


- Cream the butter and sugar together in a large basin with a wooden spoon until the mixture is light in texture and pale in colour.
- Beat the eggs and rosewater into this mixture.
- Fold in all the dry ingredients using a metal spoon.
- Finally stir in the currants.
- Stand aside in a cool place for about 45 minutes.
- Put spoonfuls of the mixture well spaced out onto a well greased baking tray.
- Bake for about 10 - 15 minutes at 190 degrees centigrade (see temperature conversions).