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Courting Cake - a Traditional Northern Love Token

Updated on January 2, 2014

Lancashire Courting Cake - For your Valentine

A lovingly baked Lancashire Courting Cake is a northern tradition where a girl gives the cake to her betrothed as a token of love. This token would also be proof to her intended of her baking skills. Perfect for a Valentine.

In Winter the cake is filled with raspberry or strawberry jam and has a shortbread base. In summer, when fruit is available, the cake was traditionally filled with lightly bruised, or over-ripe strawberries or raspberries.

This cake is a real favourite in our family. The shortbread version is eaten by us all year round and especially when grandchildren are visiting.

Picture Source - Baking Mad

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: 4


  • 8 oz (227g) Self Raising Flour
  • 4 oz (113g) Margarine or Butter
  • 4 oz (113g) Caster Sugar
  • One small egg
  • Raspberry Jam
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 -3 tblsp milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/ gas mark 5.
  2. Measure out the ingredients
  3. Add the flour and sugar to a mixing bowl
  4. Rub the fat into the flour and sugar
  5. Bind the mixture with one egg until it is like dough
  6. Divide the mixture into two
  7. Roll out each half on a floured board, so that they are flat and quite thin
  8. Cover one half thinly with jam
  9. Roll the second piece around the rolling pin in order to place it to cover the first jam covered slice
  10. Place on a flat greased baking tray
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes
  12. When cool, cut out two hearts (or more) and place one on top of the other to make a heart sandwich or serve as a flat jam sandwich.
Cast your vote for Courting Cake Recipe - Shortbread version
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: 16

Summer Courting Cake Recipe

  • 1/2 lb (227g) butter
  • 1/2 lb (227g) caster sugar
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 3/4 lb (340g) self-raising flour
  • 2 -3 tablespoons milk
  • 10 fluid ounces(284 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 lb (227D) strawberry
  • confectioners' sugar to decorate


  1. Pre-heat oven to 190°C/375°F.
  2. Grease and line the bases of three 7-inch round cake tins.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  4. Gradually add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Fold in the flour, and then add enough milk to give a soft dropping consistency.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, until well risen and firm to the touch, swapping the position of the top and bottom cakes halfway through the cooking.
  7. Turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Whip the cream until it just holds its shape.
  9. Sandwich the cakes together with the cream and the strawberries, reserving a few for decoration.
  10. Dredge the top with icing sugar and decorate with the reserved strawberries.

Cupcake courting cakes

Here, this version of courting cakes has been shrunk to handy, cupcake-size portions.

Courtesy of Lorraine Pascale

The Guardian, Saturday 7 May 2011

Cupcakes (half way down the page)

William and Kate presented with Courting Cake

In April 2011, a Lancashire Courting Cake was presented to Prince William and Kate Middleton on their visit to Darwen, Lancashire. It had been created by staff at Self Unlimited, which helps people with learning disabilities. They run the café at the pavilion at Witton Park in Darwen - one of the Royal couple's stopping off points.

Read the full story here Lancashire Life

Courtship Traditions in America and Victorian England

From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth-Century America
From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth-Century America

As entertaining as it is informative. Bailey documents sources from Margaret Mead to advertising's hokey hype in her comprehensive analysis of the rituals of American amore, exploring the themes of 'control, competition, consumption, the sexual economy, etiquette and gender.'.


Courtship and Marriage in Victorian England (Victorian Life and Times)
Courtship and Marriage in Victorian England (Victorian Life and Times)

addressing topics such as the etiquette of introductions and home visits, the roles of parents and chaperones, the events of the London season, model love letters, and the specific challenges facing domestic servants seeking spouses, author Jennifer Phegley provides a fascinating examination of British courtship and marriage rituals among the working, middle, and upper classes from the 1830s to the 1910s.


The Cake Book

Cakes are the edible symbol of life's celebrations, and this comprehensive resource is a celebration of cakes and the love and artistry that go into making them. Tish Boyle, the award-winning author and editor of Chocolatier and Pastry Art & Design magazines, unlocks the secrets to baking great cakes, with nearly 200 irresistible recipes and practical guidance on ingredients, equipment, and techniques.

Lancashire recipes

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    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 4 years ago from Virginia

      What a lovely lens! Beautiful, sweet tradition....

    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 6 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      Great lens, and i love the story behind it. Congratulations for making it on the DELICIOUS Valentines Recipe board! Well deserved! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful and yummy lens!

    • profile image

      resabi 6 years ago

      Delicious looking cakes and I love the tradition. I'm adding it to my Welsh Lovespoons lens because the traditions blend so well. Blessed.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      What a lovely and delicious tradition. Thank you for the recipe and for introducing me to such a wonderful way of expressing affection.