Traditional Lancashire/Yorkshire Potato Cakes




Here follows a recipe for making traditional Yorkshire/Lancashire* Potato Cakes.  These are not to be confused with Hash Browns or Potato Scallops (or Boxty :-)) - these really are little cakes made from Potato.  They may be an acquired taste (I can't tell, because I've been eating them since childhood, so any acquiring I did was a long time ago), especially as the main (almost only) ingredients are potato and plain flour.

If you're looking for a carb hit, this is the food for the job.  They can be eaten hot from the oven, but I prefer them cold and spread with butter for a morning or afternoon snack.

*or possibly Irish.  My father's family lived in a town that was either Yorkshire or Lancashire depending on your acknowledgement of the outcome of the war of the roses, but before that they were immigrants from Ireland, so I'm not quite sure where the recipe originated.

Step 1: Ingredients and Requirements

Solely for the purposes of this instuctable, I decided to measure the ingredients used*, as follows:
  1. 700G peeled and cleaned potatoes
  2. 220g plain flour
  3. some butter  (about 2 tablespoons)
  4. some milk (splash and a half or so)
  5. Salt and Pepper to taste
  6. Chives/cheese/onion/whatever  (optional)
In terms of equipment, you really just need:
  1. a pot to boil the spuds,
  2. a bowl to mash them in
  3. a bigger bowl to fold the spuds and flour together in
  4. a flat area to roll out the cakes
  5. a baking tray for baking on

*sort of.  This recipe is made more by feel than science, but the basic ratio of 3 potato to 1 flour is about right.

Step 2: Da Monster Mash

You'll need to mash the spuds as you would if you were to eat them as is.  Just make sure not to make them too 'wet' or you'll have to use too much flour to dry them out again.  Transfer the mash to a large bowl and add about 1/4 of the sifted flour.  Fold the flour in to the mash with a large wooden spoon.  Keep adding the flour in 1/4 amounts and fold in.  The final mix should easily come away from the sides of the bowl when moved with the spoon and be quite 'heavy' to move around.  When molding the cakes you should be able to move the mix beween your hands without it sticking like glue.  It's hard to give an exact description of what the mix should feel like.  The ratio of 3 potato to 1 flour is a rough guide and will vary depending on how 'wet' your mash is and what type of potatoes you use.

To make the cakes, grab a chunk of mix and roll it around in your hands, then flatten it out to roughly the size of your palm and 1 to 2 cm thick.  There's no need to grease the oven tray, just make sure there is a bit of a flour coating on the cakes.

Step 3: Optional Ingredients/variations

Some Cheese and Chives, just for the hell of it.  You could add just about anything in, but be aware that it is a long and slow cooking process, so you need something with a strong flavour.  I put Cheese and Chives in a couple of my cakes and, to be honest, could barely tell the difference between those and the plain ones.  I should probably have put more in.

Step 4: I Made a Mess (wife at Work)

'nuff said - just have to clean it up before she comes home.

Step 5: Cooking

The cakes need to cook in a low oven for quite a long time.  160c for approximately 2 hours (fan-forced, electric oven).  The final cooking time depends on the size of the cakes.  I left this batch in a little too long (about 15 minutes, I was busy doing other stuff).  Even though the recipe uses plain flour, the cakes rise up a fair bit when cooking  (maybe due to the amount of air introduced to the mix during the folding process).  The cakes are done when they turn a golden brown colour on top and get cracks on the surface.  Do not be tempted to open the oven or turn the cakes before they have finished cooking.

Step 6: Yum!

When you slice open the cakes, the inside sort of resembles a crumpet with all the air pockets created during the cooking process.  The outer skin is slightly chewy with a nutty flavour, whilst inside awaits golden buttery mashie goodness.  Best served with butter.  Potato Cakes can be eaten hot from the oven or cold.  I actually prefer them cold with plenty of butter.  Oh, and don't forget the butter.



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    9 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Potato cake is one of those recipes that turns up everywhere.

    Irish potato cake is made with cooked potatoes (if they are raw, you're making "boxty").

    Lancashire [potato cakes sometimes (but not always) have an egg in them, and are usually baked on a griddle not in the oven.

    Yorkshire potato cakes? Never heard of them.

    3 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    In Hull we have potato 'patties' with sage that is deep fried in batter at the local chipshops


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Ah, just looked up Boxty. They are quite different from this recipe. Boxty seem more to be the antecedents of hash browns and are quite different from these.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Kiteman,
    Thanks for the info. I always suspected the recipe was originally Irish. Maybe my family recipe is a bit of a mix of Irish and Lancashire. They are definitely always cooked in the oven, and I've never had them with an egg in the middle.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    WOW..THEY LOOK FANTASTIC... excellent instructable, they look like little baguettes can't wait to try them


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, you could try pocketing some cheese in the middle before cooking. Sort of like a jam doughnut with cheese instead of the Jam. Not sure how well it would cook though. And you'd have to watch out for the molten lava cheese in the middle ha, ha.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Next on the list for this weekend tests in the kitchen.

    Thanks for sharing mate :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is pretty much the same recipe as for the Irish potato cake called boxty. One of my favorite foods.