Friday, October 23, 2020

Soul Cakes from @MaddieDayAuthor, plus #giveaway

MADDIE here, for my Halloween contribution. Hallowe'en, of course, means Hallows' Evening, the night before All Souls Day. According to Wikipedia, the tradition of giving soul cakes was celebrated in Britain or Ireland during the Middle Ages, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy.

These spice-filled little sweets are part scone and part cookie. Before baking, they are topped with the mark of a cross to signify that these were alms. They were traditionally set out with glasses of wine, an offering for the dead as in early Christian tradition. Either on All Hallows' Eve (Halloween), All Saints' Day, or All Souls' Day (November 2nd, this author's birthday...), children would go "souling", or ritually begging for cakes door to door.

Is a mini Baby Ruth a modern soul cake, or a handful of candy corn? I certainly didn't know about the holiday's origins when I was trick-or-treating, nor when my sons were,

My goddaughter Anna and my son Allan, Halloween, 1994

But it's never too late to enlarge our historical horizons

Soul Cakes

Note: The original recipe called for a bit of milk. I didn't need it but I'd already taken the ingredients photo!


3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar, plus more for dusting

2 eggs

3 cups unbleached white flour, plus more for rolling

1/2 teaspoon each allspice, cinnamon, powdered ginger, and nutmeg

1/2 cup golden raisins or currants


Pre-heat oven to 375F and either grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Mix the spices into the flour. 

Stir it and the raisins into the mixture, making a soft dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. Mark each cake with a cross, dust with sugar, and place them on the baking sheet.

Bake the cakes for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy with tea, or even a glass of wine.

Readers: What's your favorite Halloween tradition? I'll send one of you a signed copy of Candy Slain Murder (US only)!

My most recent book is Candy Slain Murder, the eighth Country Store mystery. You guessed it, the story takes place at Christmas. As with all my books written as Maddie Day, you'll find easy recipes in the back.

I hope you'll visit Edith Maxwell and me on our web site, sign up for our monthly newsletter, visit us on social media, and check our all our books and short stories.

Maddie Day (aka Edith Maxwell) is a talented amateur chef and holds a PhD in Linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha Award-winning and bestselling author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and also writes award-winning short crime fiction. She lives with her beau north of Boston, where she’s currently working on her next mystery when she isn’t cooking up something delectable in the kitchen.


  1. Favorite Halloween tradition is decorating our house every year October 1st.
    Thanks for the chance!

  2. I always served quiche lorraine to my boys before they went trick or treating. I figured the protein would help offset all that sugar!!

    1. I always made sure my boys at an early dinner, too!

  3. My family’s favorite Halloween tradition is going to the Pug o Ween, a Halloween event hosted by the DFW pug Rescue. Love seeing all the different and creative costumes that people dress their pug as.
    Kitten143 (at) Verizon (dot) net

  4. No Halloween traditions. But enjoy watching the kids in there many costumes getting their treats.

    Pugpower63 at Gmail dot com

  5. Thank you for the recipe for Soul Cakes. Love scones and cookies plus the ingredients make it sound yummy. Sounds like a great combination to me!

    My favorite Halloween tradition as a kid was coming up with a costume idea and then bringing it to life. I can only remember one bought costume (a Hotdog - don't even remember the reasoning behind that one other than probably because it was a bought one). WE had to use our imagination on what to be, use what was on hand and then get what we thought we should look like and what we did look like to come as close as possible. We didn't run to the store to buy wigs or make up which only added to the fun of trying to get our costume just right. Loved being able to go collect candy, trading with friends for our favorites and then being able to eat a small bit before bedtime.

    As an adult, I think I had just as much fun watching the kiddos coming to the door, giving them a thumbs up on their costumes while seeing if I could figure out who they actually were. Decorating the house, playing the spooky music and even dressing up myself whereas maybe our house was one of the "you got go there and see it" houses.

    Nowadays, things have chance. We live in the country with no trick or treaters to come. There are very few that actually go out and even fewer that make their own costumes. This year I am sure will be even stranger with the way things are. Hoping the kiddos (and the parents) can find a way to remember the holiday, have fun and stay safe and healthy doing it.

    Thank you for the fabulous opportunity to win a copy of "Candy Slain Murder"! Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  6. My favorite tradition is handing out candy to all the kiddos who come to our door.

    valleyreader (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. The most wonderful part is seeing the kids in their costumes which is always special and delightful. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. My favorite Halloween tradition is watching Hocus Pocus while eating chocolate.

  9. Those look tasty and simple. My kind of treat. Every October 1 I dig out my stash of old classic horror films and spend the month with the Wolfman, Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy and the Invisible Man.

  10. As a kid it was trick-or-treat and candy. As an adult it's Halloween movies, decorations, and candy.

  11. Before this year our family had a great time joining the others with similarly young children in our neighborhood. We'd circle the street with the kids happily running house to house.
    Not sure what we're doing this year.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  12. My favorite Halloween tradition is see the kids dressed up and having fun while I'm giving out candy. It's too bad we'll miss it this year.

  13. My favorite Halloween tradition is buying candy half price on November 1st. My favorite candy - Reese's Peanut Butter cups in any shape or size!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  14. My favorite Halloween tradition is handing out candy to the children. Due to the number of family dogs that accompany the families, I also have dog treats to hand out.
    jcgc at yahoo dot com

  15. My favorite tradition is not only handing out candy to children, but eating some of my favorites too!

  16. No traditions here other than eating candy. Which we're attempting to cut back on nowadays.

  17. Star Wars and chips here!

    1. Congratulations, Melissa! You won Candy Slain Murder. Please check your email.

  18. Welcome today. Oh but this recipe looks yummy. Thanks. When our kids were little, my favorite tradition was making them the costumes they wanted. Plus handing out candy. Now the kids are grown and gone and there are no little kids that come trick or treating. This year they may be zero. But I will buy some candy anyway. I told my son that if there is any left he and his wife gets it all. LOL quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  19. New tradition is decorating my assisted living room and door with Halloween stuff I've collected over the years! Brings back many fond memories.

  20. when i was a kid it was bobbing for apples, my aunt always stuck quarters in the apples! amandasmother(at)aol(dot)com

  21. When my kids were little, our circle (Bradford Circle) had a parade for all the kids!! Such a good memory! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  22. watching the kids come up to the front door for treats and their kids loved this holiday..............thanks for the chance at winning the book. cute cover.

  23. When I was teaching, I always wore my dangle skeleton earrings & brought candy for the kids - high school, they loved treats!

  24. I don't have any Halloween traditions these days. When the boys were young we always carved pumpkins together to set out on the porch. Where we live is on the outskirts of town and in the 23 years we have lived in this house we have never had any trick or treaters.

  25. We don’t have any real traditions—I just like seeing the kids in their costumes, especially my grandsons.

  26. Love to get together with friends and family and hand out candy! Enjoy seeing all the different costumes! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  27. I love scones,I love cookies and I love this Spiced Soul cakes recipe. I would have gone souling for these too! Thank you!! I hope you're feeling better every day Maddy Day!!

  28. Congratulations to Melissa McDorman for winning Candy Slain Murder.
    Please check your email, Melissa. Thanks to all of you for commenting, and Happy Halloween!

  29. I love the decorating and handing out the candy to the children.

  30. In the past, we always had a big neighborhood Halloween block party. Not sure what, if anything, will happen this year.
    digicats {at} sbcglobal {dot} net