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April 2, 2010

This year, I’ve decided to break away from the norm of eating chocolate Easter eggs and try lesser known Easter treats. Easter is a fab way to indulge in home baking and use up eggs, a symbol of new life. During Victorian times, Easter cakes or biscuits were more commonly found throughout the Southwest, from Bristol to Shrewsbury and were flavoured with oil of cassia with lemon or orange peel and currants. Found a recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for Sedgemoor Easter cakes  which originate from Somerset in England. They’re not really cakes, more of the biscuit type flavoured with brandy.

Never made or eaten these before but these Easter cakes were easy to make, just make sure the dough is chilled sufficiently to enable the pastry dough to be rolled out easily. Adding an icing sugar glaze gives these cakes a prettier finish and balances out the slight tartness of the currants. These tasted similar to shortbread with hints of spice and are pleasingly not that sweet in comparison to the multitude of chocolate Easter eggs I’ve scoffed before!

Traditionally, they are tied up in bundles of three to represent the holy trinity and given to friends on Easter Sunday.


Sedgemoor Easter cakes

Makes approximately 18 biscuits

110g currants
2 tbsp brandy
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
A few gratings nutmeg
1 good pinch salt
110g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
110g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp caster sugar or 70g icing sugar mixed with 2-3 tbsp milk

  1. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Put the currants in a bowl with the brandy and vanilla, and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Sieve together the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour – use a light touch – then mix in the sugar. Tip in the currants and brandy, add the egg and mix until it just comes together. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead very gently until it comes together into a ball of dough. Chill for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
  4. Roll out dough until it’s 0.5-0.75cm thick, then use a fluted or plain cutter to cut into 6cm rounds. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 16-20 minutes until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to harden up and cool.
  5. While the cakes are still warm, dredge with caster sugar or make a glaze by mixing the icing sugar and milk until smooth. Brush more glaze over the cakes when they’re cool.
4 Comments leave one →
  1. Phillip Oncake permalink
    April 10, 2010 1:34 pm

    I see from your picture that some of your biscuits are small and egg shaped I followed your instructures to the letter but found nothing to say how you get them to go pink, purple or white. Is it in the glaze? Min just looked like easter bunny poos really. Please add the extra instructions before next Easter, thanking you for all your hard workings Phil

  2. Phillip Oncake permalink
    April 13, 2010 4:27 pm

    Oh I see, chocolate eggs, I am so crazy ha ha lol ha ha 😉 Apart from not being able to make colours I enjoy your recepy, thanking you Phil ha ha!!!


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