Eccles cake
A freshly baked Eccles cake
Alternative namesSquashed Fly Cake, Fly Cake, Fly Pie
Place of originEngland
Region or stateEccles, Greater Manchester
Main ingredientsFlaky pastry, butter, currants

An Eccles cake is a small, round pie, similar to a turnover, filled with currants and made from flaky pastry with butter, sometimes topped with demerara sugar.

Name and origin

The Eccles cake is named after the English town of Eccles, which is in the historic county of Lancashire and in the ceremonial county of Greater Manchester. Eccles cakes are a Lancashire food tradition, with similar cakes being found in other parts of the County of Lancashire, and are traditionally eaten with Lancashire cheese.[citation needed]

It is not known who invented the recipe,[1] but James Birch is credited with being the first person to sell Eccles cakes commercially; he sold the cakes from his shop, at the corner of Vicarage Road and St Mary's Road, now Church Street, in the town centre, in 1793.[2] John Ayto states that Elizabeth Raffald was possibly the person who invented the Eccles Cake.[3]

The word cake is used in the older general sense of a "portion of bread containing additional ingredients" rather than the narrower meaning of sweet, leavened baked good.[4]

Eccles cakes do not have Protected Geographical Status, so may be manufactured anywhere and still labelled as "Eccles" cakes.[5]

Similar pastries

A Chorley cake (left) and an Eccles cake (right)

The Chorley cake from Chorley is often seen as the most similar variant of the Eccles cake, however it is flatter, made with shortcrust pastry rather than flaky pastry, and has no sugar topping.[6]

The Blackburn cake is named after the town of Blackburn and is made with stewed apples in place of currants.[7]

In East Lancashire, a cake known as a "sad cake", can be found in the Darwen, Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley, Colne, Nelson, Padiham areas and throughout the Rossendale area. Similar to the Chorley cake, the sad cake is often up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter, and is rolled thinner so that some of the currants show through the pastry.

The Banbury cake is an oval cake from Banbury, Oxfordshire, similarly filled with currants, but with added spices.[8]

The currants roll[9] in the Commonwealth Caribbean is a descendant of the Eccles cake. It is made into the shape of a roll similar to that of rugelach with currants wrapped and rolled between flaky pastry layers.[10][11][12] A variation to the currants roll is the coconut roll (known in Guyana as salara[13] and in Grenada as turnovers[14]) where the currants are substituted with various colours of shredded coconut.

Australian company Arnotts baked a "Spicy Fruit Roll" loosely based on the Eccles cake.


  1. ^ "Eccles cake and banbury cake recipes | Dan Lepard". The Guardian. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  2. ^ "The history behind (and recipe for) Eccles Cakes". Salford City Council. Archived from the original on 2007-03-12. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  3. ^ Ayto, John. (1990). The glutton's glossary : a dictionary of food and drink terms. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-02647-4. OCLC 20825479.
  4. ^ "cake, n. and adj.", OED Online, Oxford University Press, retrieved 2023-06-14, definition 2.
  5. ^ Smith, Lewis (18 March 2011). "Cumberland sausage wins protection". The Independent. London. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  6. ^ "Chorley Cakes and Lancashire Cheese" (PDF). Visit Lancashire. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 22, 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  7. ^ Wilson, Sean (2012). The Great Northern Cookbook. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-1-4447-6113-9.
  8. ^ Little, Brian (2003). Banbury: A History. Phillimore & Co. p. 27. ISBN 1-86077-242-0.
  9. ^ Winer, Lise (2009-01-16). Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago: On Historical Principles. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. ISBN 978-0-7735-7607-0. s.v. 'currants [sic] roll'
  10. ^ "Make sweet coconut-scented rolls filled with currants". Retrieved 2023-04-03.
  11. ^ Benayoun, Mike (2013-07-02). "Currants Roll". 196 flavors. Retrieved 2023-04-03.
  12. ^ "Currants Roll Recipe". Retrieved 2023-04-03.
  13. ^ "Coconut roll (salara)". Food. 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2023-04-03.
  14. ^ Cooking, Spiceisland (2022-01-22). "Grenadian turnovers". Traditional Grenadian and West Indian Cuisine. Retrieved 2023-04-03.