These little shortbread cakes, marked with a scallop shell, were made at Aberffrau, a fishing village on the west coast of Anglesey where the shells were found on the beach. They are nearly always called Aberffrau or ‘Berffro’ cakes, appearing under the former in ‘Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery’, 1885. But they are more properly called after St James – pilgrims en route for the church of Santiago de Compostela in Spain’s north-western province of Galicia wore a scallop shell as a hat badge. Note that the two Celtic countries, Wales and Galicia, share the name for James.
James’ Cakes (Cacennau Iago)Course: Recipe
3 ozs 75g flour
2ozs 50g butter (softened)
1 oz 25g sugar
- Beat the sugar into the softened butter.
- Add the flour a little at a time, with your hands.
- Work the dough on a floured board, then roll out and stamp into rounds with a plain cutter, keeping them as thin as possible.
- Mark each round with a scallop shell and trim to a shell shape if liked.
- Bake quickly in a hot oven (425°F 2l8°C, Gas 7) on a greased baking sheet.
- They should not turn brown and need watching carefully.
- Sprinkle with sugar while still warm.
This recipe appears in A Book of Welsh Country Cakes and Buns by Bobby Freeman which is published by Y Lolfa [ISBN 0862431387].