A Halloween cake with orange icing and a spider's web.

Halloween Cake to Tell the Future

Posted by Speakeasy News > Saturday 21 October 2023 > Celebrate

Long before it made it to the U.S. and Canada, Hallowe’en was an ancient Celtic festival, Samhain*. One of the four major Celtic festivals, it celebrated the dead. One of the major traditions at Samhain was rituals that predicted the future. This is a tasty Scottish way to do that.

* /ˈsɑːwɪn/

This Hallowe’en cake can be filled with charms which are said to predict the future for the people who find them. The traditional charms are a button, a ring and a coin. The person who gets the ring will be the first to marry, the one who finds the coin will become rich, but finding the button means you will never marry. Alternative options to the cake for hiding the charms are a bowl of fuarag** (oatmeal and cream and sugar) or champit tatties (mashed potato).


Here's the recipe. You can download an illustrated version at the bottom of the page.

Scottish Hallowe’en Cake
For the cake
225g butter
225g caster sugar
4 standard eggs
340g self-raising flour
the grated rind of an orange
3 tablespoons milk

For the filling and icing
6 tablespoons/90 ml apricot jam
450g sifted icing sugar
the juice of an orange
a little orange colouring

Equipment and decoration
a 20cm-diameter cake tin, greased and the base lined with greaseproof paper
charms, wrapped in greaseproof paper
chocolate or black paper cutouts of witches, cats, spiders, broomsticks, etc.

To make the cake
Beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and cream the two ingredients together to soft and fluffy texture. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a little sifted flour if the mixture begins to curdle. Stir in the charms, wrapped in the paper, the orange rind with the milk and all the flour to make it a soft dropping consistency. Put the mixture into the tin. Spread the mixture to the sides, leaving the centre slightly hollow so the top is flat when baked.

Bake the cake at 180C/Gas mark 4 for 1 to 1¼ hours or until it is well risen, golden, brown and slightly shrinking away from the sides of the tin. Leave the cake to cool.

Split the cake in half, spread it with the jam, then sandwich the pieces back together and stand the cake on a wire tray.

To make your icing
Mix the orange juice with the icing sugar, adding more water if necessary to make an icing that thickly coats the back of a spoon. Colour the icing orange, and put it over the cake, guiding it to the edges and letting it flow over the sides. Leave the cake to dry and decorate it with chocolate or paper cutouts.

Download the illustrated recipe. SN_Halloween_Cake

A partial image of the illustrated recipe.

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