Soul cakes are traditional English sweet cookies with raisins that are made for Samhain or Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
Traditional soul cakes are sweet round cookies with cross on top, filled with raisins and a touch of spices.
If you are looking for homemade Halloween treats, try this easy raisin cookie recipe. Delicious idea for treats or tricks!
These simple cookies are perfect with a cup of tea. What can be better than sharing breakfast with your family, with a strongly brewed cup of tea and sweet cookies? Hope these Halloween cookies will become a family tradition at your home!
What does soul cake mean
The tradition of giving soul cakes to soulers came from Medieval Britain and Ireland. Soulers, mostly children and poor people, with songs and prayers went to the rich people. Round cookies were given to them “for the souls of the givers and their friends” at the Halloween season.
This Christian tradition was also found in Portugal, Italy and Philippines. In the USA and other countries souling is seen as an origin of trick-and-treat.
Christians adopted the tradition of soul cakes, which were blessed and given to poor people in churches and monasteries.
Try these soul cakes for Samhain! This is an easy cookie recipe, no need to buy, when you have staple ingredients and a little bit of time. I will show you how to bake Halloween treats!
How to make traditional soul cakes
There are different recipes of these Halloween cookies, mostly made with available grain and other ingredients. Buttery flaky soul cakes are made with staple ingredients, such as eggs, butter, sugar and milk. Additionally you will need raisins and mixed spices.
First, cream the butter with sugar, combine with egg yolks.
Mix in sieved flour and mixed spices. You can use two teaspoons of all spice or pumpkin spice. Make your own mixed spices by combining equal parts of ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.
Add milk and mix with a spatula until the dough comes together.
I like making the dough with the hands on the lightly floured surface or silicone mat. Sprinkle raisins on top, while kneading the dough. If you don’t like raisins, you can use dried cranberries or just skip the dried fruit.
Dust the rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough about 1/4 inch or 0.6 cm thick.
Cut the cookies and carefully transfer them to the baking tray, layered with parchment paper. Traditionally soul cakes are cut with round cookie or biscuit cutter, but they can be ovals or squares or baked in a muffin tin.
Cut a cross on top of each cookie. Traditionally the cross is cut with a knife, but you can place raisins or cranberries on top of the cross as well.
Check also our healthy oatmeal cookies with cranberries. This recipe will help you to make delicious and healthy Halloween cookies!
Bake cookies 15-20 minutes until golden. I had 2 baking trays, layered with baking sheets for 18 cookies in total, if you knead and roll again the cuts from the cookies.
Leave on a rack and allow to cool before eating or giving to soulers!
Traditional soul cakes will look better, when dusted with powdered sugar or caster sugar.
How to store and make ahead Halloween cookies
Soul cakes will keep up to 4 days in air tight container at room temperature. So you can make these raising cookies ahead of time. However, homemade cookies taste better at first day.
You can also make 1 day ahead the dough and shape it into disc. Store soul cake cookie dough, wrapped in plastic, in the fridge. On the next day, when you plan to bake raisin cookies, let the dough warm for 10 minutes. Discard the plastic and roll with the rolling pin. Cut and bake the same time as in recipe instructions.
More Halloween treats
If you like raisin filled cookies, check our 30 + Best Halloween recipes for more ideas. Follow our Halloween Pinterest board to find more Halloween treats to make.
By the way, if you want healthy Halloween treats, you should check our easy baked apple recipe.
If you make this recipe for Hallows Eve, Day of the Dead or All Souls Day, we would love if you tag us or Instagram or leave a comment here.
Traditional Soul Cakes
- 1-2 baking trays
- parchment paper
- roller pin
- large bowl
- round cookie cutter
- a spatula and a knife
- 175 g butter room temperature
- 175 g white granulated sugar
- 3 egg yolks medium size
- 450 g flour
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 70 g raisins
- 6-7 tbsp milk
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 190 C / 374 F.
- Add butter to the large bowl. Add sugar.175 g butter, 175 g white granulated sugar
- Using hand mixer or stand mixer, mix butter with sugar.
- Add egg yolks and mix again.3 egg yolks
- Sieve flour in egg, butter and sugar mixture.450 g flour
- Sieve spices on top of the flour.2 tsp mixed spice
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a spatula.
- Gradually add milk, combining with a spatula until the dough comes together.6-7 tbsp milk
- Transfer the dough to the silicone mat or surface, dusted with flour.
- Knead the dough with hands until well combined.
- Add half raisins, and knead them in the dough.70 g raisins
- Add more raisins while kneading the dough.
- Roll the dough with a rolling pin about 1/4 inch or 0.6 cm thick.
- Cut the round shape cookies with the cookie cutter.
- Transfer the cookies to the baking tray, layered with parchment paper. Leave the space between the cookies. Cut the cross on each cookie. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden.
- Bake another batch of cookies. Let them cool for 10 minutes. Dust the cookies with powdered sugar.2 tbsp powdered sugar
I made these for my class for a project I was doing about the origins of Halloween. They were easy to make and many of my classmates told me they were delicious and asked me for the recipe. Thank you so much, they were a great success! 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us! We are so happy to hear that the recipe was a hit in your class and that your classmates enjoyed it. Thank you for choosing our recipe for your project, it means a lot to us, and we appreciate you taking the time to let us know! 🙂
It is a lot better with other dried fruit, such as blueberries
Yeah, thats a nice variation too 🙂
This is the second year I’ve made these and they’re just so… comforting. I think that’s the word. I just want to eat one after another! I was just wondering though – having no actual reference since I’ve never eaten one before making them, what is the texture supposed to be like? Are they supposed to be really soft or just a bit of give without an actual snap? Mine are the same colouring as the ones in the photo so I think I have the baking time right but I just want to be sure I’m being true to the recipe. 🙂
Hi Tiffany, thank you for your comment. Great to hear that you are making this recipe more than once and love it! In terms of the texture they are something in between biscuits and scones. They are crunchy outside and softer inside. The texture may also vary, depending on the oven type.
I have no idea what this means by mixed spice… What spaces am I supposed to be using?
Hi Carmen! To make mixed spice, combine 1/2 tsp or each ground spice: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg. Let us know how it goes 🙂
The last line of the recipe reads “dust with baking powder”. Is this correct? Or, does baking powder mean powdered sugar. Please advise.
Thank you for noticing! Yes, it means sprinkle with powdered sugar, corrected now 🙂
I’ve never heard of Soul Cakes before. Such a fascinating history. Gotta try these soon!
This tradition comes from Medieval Britain and Ireland. Nevertheless, these are tasty raisin cookies worth trying!
I’ve never had a soul cake before but I’ll definitely give them a go after reading through this! Love the step by step photos too 🙂
Thank you! They are sweet and pretty easy to make!
This is such a delicious recipe! Can’t wait to try it!
So happy that you like it!
So simple and elegant. Loved all those pics and easy instructions. Really delicious.
Thank you, Roxana!
These cookies were so simple to make and turned out to be absolutely delicious! Perfect for the holidays!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Anjali!