During the month of October, people all over the world are paying homage to their ancestors. It is believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and dead is at it thinnest on Samhain so this is the perfect time for us to reflect on our history and honor those who have come before us.
There are many ways to do this–from lighting candles in your home or garden, setting up an altar or shrine with edible offerings, writing letters or poetry about your memories of them, dancing under the moonlight–or even making soul cakes!
What are Soul Cakes?
Soul cakes are small cakes traditionally baked as a way to honor ancestors, departed loved ones, and celebrate the beauty of life on Samhain. These small round cakes made of flour and spices were given as offerings and were generally made with ingredients like oats or wheat, honey, butter or oil for sustenance; salt for wisdom; cinnamon to help banish negative energies; nutmeg to bring prosperity into your home; and ginger for healing.
Around the time of Halloween, families in the medieval period traditionally made soul cakes in remembrance of the dead. Children and poor people would go from door to door, singing or praying and receiving a soul cake in return. The custom was known as souling and the cakes were sometimes known as souls. The tradition is still followed in some places. It’s thought to have been at least part of the origin of our modern custom of trick-or-treating.
Recipe for Soul Cakes
The best thing about this recipe for soul cakes is that they are made with basic kitchen staples and ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen right now such as flour, butter, eggs, milk, spices, and raisins.
Soul Cakes: An Offering for Our Ancestors
- Large bowl
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- electric mixer
- small bowl
- Wooden Spoon
- Rolling Pin
- Small Sauce Pan
- baking sheets
- round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 stick 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup currants or raisins
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine the flour, spices and salt in a small bowl. Mix well with a fork.
- Warm the milk in a small saucepan. Remove from heat.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon (or use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment). Add the egg yolks and blend in thoroughly with the back of the spoon. Add the spiced flour and combine as thoroughly as possible; the mixture will be dry and crumbly.
- One tablespoon at a time, begin adding in the warm milk, blending vigorously with the spoon. When you have a soft dough, stop adding milk; you probably won't need the entire half-cup.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead gently, with floured hands, until the dough is uniform. Roll out gently to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Using a floured 2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can and set on an ungreased baking sheet. You can gather and re-roll the scraps, gently.
- Decorate the soul cakes with currants or raisins and then brush liberally with the beaten egg yolk. Bake for 15 minutes, until just golden and shiny. Serve warm.
We hope you enjoyed the recipe for soul cakes. If you’re looking to learn more about how Samhain is celebrated, please subscribe to our newsletter where we share seasonal offerings and other insights into the celebrating the seasons and living a life closer to nature and a world of magic!
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.