Placed out as offerings for wandering spirits, Soul Cakes link the traditions of Samhain and All Saints’ Day. These little biscuit-like cakes were left out and enjoyed by both the living and the dead and are ridiculously simple to make. These treats were meant to please wandering spirits, but keep them from lingering in homes beyond the time of All Saints’ passing.

Soul Cakes

Serving Size: 1 dozen cakes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Generous pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
  2. Combine flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Mix well with a fork.
  3. Crumble the saffron threads into a small saucepan and heat over low heat just until they become aromatic.
  4. Add the milk and heat. The milk will turn a bright yellow. Remove from heat.
  5. Mix the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon. 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.
  6. One tablespoon at a time, begin adding in the warm saffron milk, blending vigorously with the spoon. When you have a soft dough, stop adding milk.
  7. Knead dough on a floured counter until the dough is uniform.
  8. Roll out gently to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Using cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can and set on an ungreased baking sheet.
  9. Decorate the soul cakes with currants and then brush liberally with the beaten egg yolk. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and shiny.


Original Recipe: NRP

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