Bake Britain: Cakes And Biscuits Named After British Places

Matt Brown
Feb 29, 2024 By Matt Brown
Originally Published on Oct 06, 2020
A snapshot of Kidadl's Bake Britain map showing cakes and biscuits named after British places.
Age: 0-99
Read time: 3.0 Min

You’ve heard of Yorkshire puddings and Bakewell tarts, but did you know there’s a Shrewsbury cake, Wigan Slappy and a Liverpool Tart?

This map, created by Kidadl, reveals the many baked foods named after parts of Britain -- from Aberdeen Roll in the north of Scotland, to the famous Cornish Pasty of the south-west. Have fun exploring it with your kids, then try our baking section and themed cakes for recipe ideas.
 

foods that might be considered baked

Lancashire appears to be the epicentre of baking. Here you’ll find the rival Eccles cakes and Chorley cakes, both superficially like mince pies, though the Eccles is larger and sweeter. Nearby, the cakes named after the village of Goosnargh are caraway flavoured shortbreads -- more biscuit than cake.

Goosnarghs are not the only cake to stretch the popular understanding of the word. Kendal mint cake is famous as an energy-rich walker’s snack; it’s more a slab of peppermint and sugar than what we might picture in a ‘cake’. The real jokers in the pack, though, are Pontefract cakes, which are tiny discs of liquorice, and are so far removed from a stereotypical cake that they probably shouldn’t be on this map at all. 

Pies come in many regional varieties. 

The south-east of England offers up sugary variety. We find a local derby in London between the Chelsea bun (a cinnamon-spiced currant bun) and the Tottenham cake (a pink-topped sponge). But don’t forget the London bun, an iced currant bun a bit like the more famous Bath Bun. Other cakes that might have been named after parts of London, but are not, include Angel Cake and Victoria Sponge. Meanwhile, Sussex pond pudding and Kentish pond pudding have fallen out of favour as suet-heavy dishes that need hours of steaming. Bedfordshire clangers have also lost some of their fame; the suet dumplings were once so popular that the word ‘clanger’ became a nickname for someone of Bedfordshire.

Scotland has a smaller selection at the geographic bakery. The Selkirk bannock is a sweet, fruity bread, supposedly adored by Queen Victoria. Dundee cake also gets royal approval; the fruity, almond-topped cake is said to be a favourite of Elizabeth II. Meatier fare can be found in the Forfar birdie (a meaty shortcrust bake, like a pasties) or the Kilmarnock Pie (a steak and gravy affair created for the local football club). Wales has many blessings, but placename-inspired cakes are not among them. We could find only Welsh cakes, delicious flat griddle cakes made from store cupboard staples. We’re not counting Welsh rarebit, as it’s little more than cheese on toast, and not actually Welsh.

We’ve also included a couple of cheats, for the sake of a laugh. Sandwich, in Kent, did give its name to the popular lunchtime meal, but only indirectly through the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who didn’t even live in the town. Meanwhile, we couldn’t resist including scones on the map. Although the crumbly treats may well be of Scottish origin, they are not thought to be associated with the town of Scone. 

The map only includes foods that might be considered ‘baked’, like cakes, biscuits, puddings and bread. That’s why you won’t find such treats as Lincolnshire sausages, Worcestershire sauce or Caerphilly cheese or the map. If you think we’ve missed something, drop matt@kidadl.com a line.

See also

Baking without flour… some simple recipes.

Make a book cake for kids who love reading.

Make a giant jaffa cake!
 

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Written by Matt Brown

Bachelor of Science specializing in Chemistry, Master of Research specializing in Biomolecular Sciences

Matt Brown picture

Matt BrownBachelor of Science specializing in Chemistry, Master of Research specializing in Biomolecular Sciences

With a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a Master's in Residency specializing in Biomolecular Sciences and roots in the Midlands, Matt has developed a passion for writing about London. As a former editor and prolific contributor to Londonist.com, he has authored several books exploring the city's hidden gems. In addition to his work, Matt enjoys spending time with his two preschool-aged children.

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