Butter cakes

One of the many things I love about Florence Greenberg’s Jewish Cookery Book (first published in the 1940s, although I have the 6th edition from 1958), is the number of excellent baking recipes which require only simple ingredients, combined in appropriate proportions. I like a shmancy cupcake, as much as the next person who likes shmancy cupcakes, but it’s very satisfying to bake something good and easy and cheap, which relies on wit and not flash. Unfortunately this recipe isn’t quite that.

(As an aside, we’ve had a lot of people finding the blog by searching for Florence Greenberg’s recipe for cinnamon balls, which are on my list of things to bake later in the year – I promise! ETA: I made them – see here.)

I assume the name is a false friend translation from Yiddish, ‘butterkeks’ meaning ‘shortbread-y thing’ in several Germanic languages.

Selfraising flour 6oz
Castor sugar 4oz
Butter 4oz
Ground cinnamon ½ teaspoonful

Mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon, rub in the butter, then knead to a pliable dough. Roll out onto a floured board in two rounds, the size of sandwich tins. Grease the tins, lay in the paste, and bake in a moderately hot oven (425, Gas Mark 6) for about 30 minutes. Leave for a minute to set, then cut across 12 sections. Leave in tin till cold.

If preferred, roll out the paste quite thin and cut into rounds. They will only take 12 – 15 minutes to bake.

I had to add two teaspoons of milk to get the dough to come together and until I had the dough was a mess of crumbs.  I left half the dough as per the recipe, and added some finely chopped hazelnuts to the other half.


Lovely, very crunchy, very buttery biscuits which, despite containing self-raising flour, hardly spread during baking. In addition to needing some extra moisture, those made with some nuts were vastly superior to those without, so I recommend adding some, or some extra ginger or nutmeg.

Buttered by Elly


One response to “Butter cakes

  1. These look really yummy!!!