Traditional Soul Cakes

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.

Traditional Soul Cakes served on a plate with a cup of black tea

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If you are looking for homemade Halloween treats, try this easy raisin cookie recipe. Delicious idea for treats or tricks!

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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!

Traditional Soul Cakes are made for Halloween or all Souls Day. Sweet cookies with raisins are great as Halloween treat or served for breakfast or brunch with a cup of tea.

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.

Soul cakes on a plate with a cup of tea, view from top

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.

Ingredients for the soul cakes

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.

Holding a soul cake in hand

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.

A bite of soul cake cookie, holding in hand

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 cake recipe, holding a cookie with raisins

Traditional Soul Cakes

Cooking Journey
5 from 4 votes
Soul cakes are traditional English sweet cookies with raisins that are made for Halloween or Samhain, All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Cookies
Cuisine British
Servings 18 cookies
Calories 221 kcal

Ingredients 

  • 175 g butter room temperature (3/4 cups)
  • 175 g white granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • 3 egg yolks medium size
  • 450 g flour (3 5/8 cups)
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 70 g raisins (1/2 cup)
  • 6-7 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 190 C / 374 F.
    Preheat the oven to 190 C / 374 F.
  • Add butter to the large bowl. Add sugar.
    Add butter to the large bowl. Add sugar.
  • Using hand mixer or stand mixer, mix butter with sugar.
    Using hand mixer or stand mixer, mix butter with sugar.
  • Add egg yolks and mix again.
    Add egg yolks and mix again.
  • Sieve flour in egg, butter and sugar mixture.
    Sieve flour in egg, butter and sugar mixture.
  • Sieve spices on top of the flour.
    Sieve spices on top of the flour.
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a spatula.
    Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a spatula.
  • Gradually add milk, combining with a spatula until the dough comes together.
    Gradually add milk, combining with a spatula until the dough comes together.
  • Transfer the dough to the silicone mat or surface, dusted with flour.
    Transfer the dough to the silicone mat or surface, dusted with flour.
  • Knead the dough with hands until well combined.
    Knead the dough with hands until well combined.
  • Add half raisins, and knead them in the dough.
    Add raisins, and knead them in the dough.
  • Add more raisins while kneading the dough.
    Roll the dough with a rolling pin about 1/4 inch or 0.6 cm thick.
  • 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.
    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.
    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 baking powder.
    Bake another batch of cookies. Let them cool for 10 minutes. Dust the cookies with baking powder.

Notes

To make mixed spice, combine 1/2 tsp or each ground spice: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg.
Soul cakes will keep up to 4 days in air tight container at room temperature.

Video

Keyword Halloween, raisins, treats

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10 thoughts on “Traditional Soul Cakes”

  1. 5 stars
    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 🙂

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