Teacake Soulcakes, by Pamela Culver

I thought it through, figuring out what ingredients would have been used in 1604. White flour, as we know it wasn’t around until the 1800’s. White granulated sugar wasn’t around in 1604, either. I don’t have access to ale barm, so instead I made sort of a sourdough starter with wheat flour, sugar, and apple ale…it’s what I had.

Forgive the American measurements, but really, they wouldn’t have been measuring things out with kitchen scales in 1604 anyway.

First I added a teaspooon each of mace, nutmeg, and ground cloves. (This turned out to be far too much. The next time I’m going to try a teaspoon of nutmeg, and a half teaspoon each of the two others. Or possibly try nutmeg and cinnamon.) The instructions say to add the butter cold so I rubbed four tablespoons into the flour and spices as you would for pastry.

Then I added a half cup of brown sugar, two cups of the ale starter, and about two tablespoons of dry sherry.

Once mixed, I kneaded it for about ten minutes, until it felt rather elastic, but still moist, then covered it and let it rest for twenty minutes. Toward the end of kneading, I added one apple, diced. (I used a Pink Lady apple. Both because it’s what I had, and the texture is soft enough to cook in the short baking time.) Then I divided it into six pieces rolled as much of the apple as I could under and then flattened them to about an inch thick. I placed them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then covered them and left them in a warm spot to rise until doubled. How long it takes to rise will depend on how lively your starter is. For me it took about ninety minutes. I brushed them with an egg wash and sprinkled them with pearl sugar, just because. Then baked at 375° for 15 minutes.

The end result was a soft, finely textured bread roll, very similar to your teacakes. I really have to wonder if soul cakes were an ancestor of teacakes.  I think this is probably one of those things that every household had their own way of making them, so the spices used could be anything you like.

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