Hearth Cakes: The French Alternative

Hearth Cakes: The French Alternative

Have you ever wondered how people managed in the olden days without an oven? They did live without cake but instead they made hearth cakes which are a cross between a cake and a biscuit. Hearth cakes are also known as Singing Hinnies because they used to sing when they were placed on the hot hearth stone. The hearth stone is a large flat stone in front of the fire. Alternatively, they can be made in a frying pan instead if you don’t have a hearth stone.

Hearth cakes recipe


  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 2 cups currants
  • 1 egg
  • 200 grams butter (or margarine)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence


Wash your hands before you begin. In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients and mix them together with your hands. Roll the mixture out flat and cut it into rounds with a glass. If you’re cooking the hearth cakes on a hearth just put them on the stone, they won’t stick. But if you’re cooking them in a frying pan, melt a teaspoonful of butter or margarine in a heated pan and cook them on a low heat for about two to three minutes until they’re light brown. Then turn them over and cook until the other side is brown too. They will last up to a month in a sealed container.

Further information

For more of Jackie French’s ideas consult her new book Making Money from your Garden (Earth Garden Magazine, 1997, rrp $9.95). Available from book stores and newsagencies throughout Australia.