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Excellent Small Cakes
Mistress Johanna of Griffenhurst

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Original Recipe

Excellent Small Cakes

Sir Kenelme Digbie's The Closet Opened, 1669
Take three pound of very find flower well dryed by the fire, and put to it a pound and a half of loaf Sugar sifted in a very fine sieve and dryed;  Three pounds of Currnats well washed and dryed in a cloth and set by the fire;  When you flower is well mixed with the Sugar and Currants, you must put in it a pound and a half of unmelted butter, ten spoonfuls of Cream, with the yolks of three new-laid Eggs beat with it, one Nutmeg; and if you please, three spoonfuls of Sack.  When you have wrought your paste well, you must put it in a cloth, and set it in a dish before the fire, til it be through warm.  Then make then up in little cakes, and prick them full of holes; you muct bake them in a wuick oven unclosed.  Afterwards Ice them over with Sugar.  The Cakes should be about the bigness of a hand-breadth and thin:  of the cise of the Sugar Cakes sold at Barnet. 



2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/8 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
6 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
5 ounces of currants


Mix all ingredients well into a stiff dough and cook 12-15 minutes in a 325 degree F oven until slightly brown on the bottom. 

Number of Servings

None given.

Serving Size

None given.

Redaction Notes

Modern cake and cookie recipes are inappropriate for pre-17th century recreation because they use baking powder or baking soda - 19th century inventions.  These "small cakes" are somewhat like a shortbread, but rise slightly due to the use of eggs and cream. 

The original recipe is from Sir Kenelme Digbie's The Closet Opened printed in 1669 by Digbie's nephew and including his uncle's store of recipes used at the court of Elizabeth I.


  • Sir Kenelme Digbie's The Closet Opened, 1669.

Date Of Redaction

None given.  Used with permission of the author.

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