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Tosset cake

06 September 2013

TOSSET cakes sound more like biscuits to me: basic shortbread with less than the usual sugar, caraway seeds, and coriander. But they are considered one of the "lost foods" of the UK that TV chef Jamie Oliver (left in picture) and fellow chef Jimmy Doherty (right) are currently searching for. They will be featured on Channel 4 next year.

It seems that the tosset cake is local to Stalmine and Preesall, in Blackburn diocese, marking the feast of St Oswald. When the Revd Shaun Baldwin, the Vicar, met the two chefs in St Oswald's, Preesall, he told them how "tosset" was believed to be a corruption of "Oswald", and the cake dated back centuries, linked to the old holy-day celebrations of that saint. It had been more than 100 years, however, since the tosset feast had taken place.

Mr Baldwin was involved throughout the two days of filming, and on the first day, took Mr Doherty out and about to meet the Coastguard, the WI, a football team, and a young mothers' group, and to invite them all to St Aidan's C of E Technology College to make tosset cakes for the next day's celebration.

The next morning, the two chefs made their own versions of the tosset cake in the 16th-century kitchen at Parrox Hall, and in the afternoon they were chief guests at a garden party in the grounds of the Hall, with wrestling displays, fire-eaters, and a tug of war. But the main event was the judging of the many tosset cakes. The judges included the chairman of Booths supermarkets, Edwin Booth, and John Gill, the chief buyer for the chain, which is considering making and selling tosset cakes.

The winning cake was made by Simon Hall, from the Cottage Loaf Bakery, but second was Mo Baldwin, the Vicar's wife.

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