Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 09 May |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Alexandru Rusu

Soul cakes!

Simcha Fisher - published on 11/02/16

On All Soul’s Day, if we can manage it, we bake soul cakes. Here’s the recipe I use, because it doesn’t include yeast.

These dense, fragrant little cakes are a good way of helping your kids step down from cramming Kit Kats into their faces for several hours a day. They are sweet, but also pleasantly spicy and old-fashioned tasting, and quite easy to make. I’ll make beef stew to go with ours. I didn’t have cider vinegar, so I used regular, and used cloves in place of allspice. You can add currants or raisins or whatever else you like. Medieval recipes are forgiving!


We used to sing “Soul Cakes” as a round when I was little. Sting has recorded a version, but it’s really unbearably Sting-y (and also veers off into Christmas territory), so here’s a more toothsome rendition:

Going “souling” was a kind of ritual begging on All Hallow’s Eve, All Saint’s Day, and All Soul’s Day, when children and the poor would go house to house, singing and collecting cakes and other treats, and offering prayers for the dead in return. We got our begging in on Monday, so we’ll settle for eating some warm spicy cakes after school, and adding some extra prayers for the dead to our evening routine.

And now that I’ve snared you in by talking about food, here’s a reminder: Praying for the dead ought to be a part of our daily life, as members of the Communion of Saints. To make sure you fit it in, why not add it to grace before meals? “May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.” Takes two seconds, frightens guests, and pays into that bank of grace. If you help souls get out of purgatory, you can bet that they’ll help you when it’s your turn. Easy peasy, no yeast necessary.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
J-P Mauro
Philippines finishes construction of largest Marian statue in the...
Sarah Robsdottir
Dad’s priceless reaction to newborn goes viral
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima for healing and strength
Philip Kosloski
What are the 4 different parts of the Mass?
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
Philip Kosloski
3 Signs of a spiritual attack on your soul
See More