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The best cakes and desserts from around Britain

Published: 19 September 2018 | Category : Weird & Wonderful | Author: Michael Shaw

With the Great British Bake Off back on our screens, we’re suddenly slightly obsessed with cracking out our best kitchen scales and baking our troubles away.

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But when it comes to choosing what cake to make, we thought we’d steer clear of the traditional Victoria sponge and explore of the best regional desserts that this island has to offer.

Here are some of the sweetest cakes from around the British Isles to get your taste buds tingling…

Eccles cake

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Up there with Lowry and the Gallagher brothers as the best things to come out of Greater Manchester, the Eccles cake has been around since the 1790s. It’s a small, round cake made of flaky, buttery pastry and crammed full of currants.  And if you like the taste, why not try the Midlands answer to the Eccles cake, the similar-but-not-quite-the-same Banbury cake?

Dundee cake

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One of Scotland’s most famous additions to the big book of Great British cake recipes, Dundee Cake has been a teatime tradition since the 19th century. It’s a fruit cake with a difference as it uses blanched almonds instead of cherries, before being topped with… yet more almonds. It’s been reported that the Queen herself likes a slice of Dundee with her afternoon tea.

Bakewell Tart

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Whether it comes as a tart or a slice, a Bakewell is the ultimate teatime treat that always hits the spot. Hailing from deep in the Derbyshire Dales, the Bakewell Tart sees a shortcrust pastry shell smothered with jam, topped with frangipane, and covered with flaked almonds. Modern variations see the tarts topped with fondant icing, but we think the classic recipe is still the best. 

Parkin

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Although traditionally eaten on Guy Fawkes Night, Parkin is a deliciously spicy cake that tastes great all year round. Originating in Yorkshire, this gingerbread cake is made with oatmeal and black treacle and has a uniquely warming flavour. It’s not widely available in shops and bakeries outside Yorkshire, so why not try and bake your own?

Bara Brith

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Translated from its native Welsh, Bara Brith means “speckled bread”, which sums up this traditional Welsh sweet bread fairly well. A yeast bread that’s flavoured with tea, dried fruits, and mixed spices, Bara Brith is best served sliced and buttered with a nice cup of tea. And to mix things up a bit, why not try it toasted with some jam, peanut butter and, wait for it, crispy bacon?

Chelsea Buns

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Chelsea buns were first created back in the 18th century at the famous old Chelsea Bun House, a favourite haunt of British royalty before it was demolished in 1839. Rich yeast dough is flavoured with lemon peel, cinnamon and mixed spices, while a spiral shape makes it all the more perfect for playing with your food.

Manchester Tart

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You might remember this one from your school dinners, and there’s no getting round the fact that the Manchester Tart is a classic British dessert. A shortcrust shell covered with raspberry jam and filled with a custard topping, this is always a hit with the kids. Mix things up with adding a layer of bananas underneath the custard.

 

 

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