A much-abused piece of confectionery because its centre so frequently consists of scrap and waste, which belie the enticing appearance of the outside. The skin or crust is made of puff-paste trimmings – that is, the dough is made up of pieces of puff-paste left after goods of other sorts that are very light have been cut out. The pieces for Eccles cakes are pinned out thin, washed over, and the filling for each rolled into a ball and placed in the centre. Each piece is gathered up pudding cloth fashion, and properly closed. It is then turned over, flattened and washed with egg, and three cuts made in the centre.
The filling may consist of sifted cake crumb, currants cleaned and picked, a little very finely chopped orange peel, and a little spice, the whole bound together with egg or milk. Some confectioners wash over with white of egg, and dip the tops in sugar before panning, instead of glazing with egg. This cake is also made in large round sheets and cut into triangular pieces, or in plate sheets and cut after baking into squares.
From The Baker’s ABC by John Kirkland, formerly Head Teacher of National School of Baking, published 1927 by Gresham
Image from Cooking Explained by Barbara Hammond