A family run bakery in Salford has rekindled the tradition of producing Eccles cakes – in Eccles.
The Albert Street Artisan Bakery has launched its handmade ‘Made in Eccles Cakes’, which update the traditional recipe for the currant-filled parcels with candied orange peel.
The business is run by four family members and started in September during lockdown when their catering company, Impact Catering, faced troubles during the pandemic.
Will Hamer is one of the family who works at Albert Street. He explained: “My brother Joe is the head baker. He thought he’d give it a go just baking a few loafs and going to Platt Fields Market after an invitation from his mate.
“He kept selling out every week, so he kept making more and more.
“Then during Tier Three we stepped in and became a delivery service and it sort of boomed from there.”
Impact Catering was very successful before the pandemic. The troubles revealed themselves when one of its biggest clients, Manchester University, closed its catering facilities.
Although the company’s kitchen, which is only a few minutes away from the original James Birch’s Eccles cake shop, was a great base to start producing bread products, they were still new to the bakery world.
Mr Hamer said: “The products at first were always ‘alright’ but we got better and then the limits we did face was sourdough shortage because we only had a limited amount of bannetons and space.”
The family are safely onto a new venture but he criticised the minimal Government support available early on. He said: “At the beginning all we received was a bursary. Whilst the furlough scheme allowed us to keep staff, I think the response from the government has been awful.
“I think there is plenty of places they could and should get money out to help people.”
Chorley cake (left)
Eccles cake (right)
Which do YOU prefer? pic.twitter.com/995W5RF02s
— Richard Coles (@RevRichardColes) December 13, 2020
Recently, celebrity vicar Reverend Richard Coles posed the question of preference between a Chorley cake and an Eccles cake.
Will says: “Eccles cakes are so versatile. They are a simple but effective cake that really shows the spirit of the working-class town they are from. You can jazz it up being trendy with something else special or you can simply have it with a brew at home.”
The bakery operates in Platt Fields Market on Saturdays but is available for pre-orders and deliveries for Wednesdays and Saturday mornings. To find more about the Albert Street Bakery find them on Facebook or Instagram
Feature image and headshot by: Simon Teasdale