Chorley Cake is actually a cookie, sometimes described as a very small cake. It is not overly sweet.
Chorley is a small town south of Preston in Lancashire, England. The cookies are vaguely similar to Eccles Cakes; some say they are similar to Garibaldi Biscuits as well.
Traditionally, you spread butter on top them when eating them.
A Chorley Cake is flat and round, 3 or 3 1/2 inches (8 or 9 cm) wide.
There is a thin bottom and top layer of unsweetened shortcrust pastry, with a filling or currants or raisins.
At home, they can be made with leftover pie dough. Occasionally, some people add sugar to the dough to sweeten it somewhat.
You cut the dough into a circle about 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 1/2 cm) wide. Put a small amount of the raisin or currant filling in the middle, leaving lots of edge on the dough. Fold the edges up to meet in the middle. Then press down and roll with a rolling pin to seal and flatten. You should be able to see the fruit through the pastry. Brush with milk or egg white, and bake.
Serve spread with butter on top. Particularly nice when hot.
Literature & Lore
A “Chorley Cake Street Fair” held in mid-October was started in 1995 in Chorley, Lincolnshire to promote the cakes. Bakers try to bake really large ones to create interest amongst visitors.
Unlike similar promotions elsewhere in it, though, this one hasn’t met with a lot of support, sadly. By 2009, shop keepers complained that the fair blocked off their customers getting to them. As of October 2010, the fair was discontinued, because the local council chose that exact time of year to dig up for gas mains improvements the parking lot where it is held.
Some people called a Chorley Cake “dead fly pie” or just “fly pie”, owing to the currants or raisins inside.
Chorley Cake Fair scaled back. Chorley Guardian. Chorley, Lancashire. 22 September 2009.
Chorley Cake Festival axed. Chorley Guardian. Chorley, Lancashire. 14 September 2010.