Called in at a splendid North Yorkshire village shop during the week and stirred up a couple of locals and the shopkeeper into a bit of a heated but friendly discussion. In the office earlier in the week we’d been talking about Yorkshire teacakes… as you do, particularly mid morning… the subject of a debate we’re starting in next month’s Dalesman: What is a real Yorkshire teacake?

Back in the shop one of the locals asked for teacakes and was given the plain, white, round variety. Looking to incite the other local in the queue I said, “I’d have thought there’d be proper Yorkshire teacakes around here.”

The shopkeeper asked what I meant and I told him… with currants and raisins in. “Them’s fruit teacakes,” he replied.”Nah, them plain ones is baps,” said the chap in front of me. “Them wi’ fruit in is Yorkshire teacakes.”

I offered that where I came from in the West Riding we bought currant teacakes and plain teacakes.

The first lady said, “Blimey, don’t get me even more confused, it’s taken me long enough to stop calling ’em stotties, being from the North East.”

The shopkeeper’s wife chipped in with something about fruit buns and bread cakes before the shopkeeper himself tried to end the conversation with “Well, we don’t sell ’em anyway.”

I look forward to more reaction to our debate in March’s issue. PJ

UPDATE: We have created a Letters page on the main Dalesman website and your teacake letters have been posted on it. You can still add your thoughts by clicking ‘Comments‘ at the top of this post.

Join The Conversation


  1. Lesley Collett

    Both the currant and plain varieties were referred to as teacake in Keighley,leading to occasional confusion. As a small child I was sent to the shop for currant teacakes but was too shy to utter more than a stuttered “T-teacakes, please!”. For the next forty years the family has referred to me as the one who when ‘sent to the shop for currant teacakes comes back with plain ones’; the acme of all idiocy. I later went to live in Lancaster, where it took a while to learn to say ‘barmcake’… Now resident in York, I think only the fruit ones are teacakes here (off to Thomas’s to do some research!).

  2. Dora

    I’m with you on this one..i’m also from the West Riding and it was plain teacakes or fruit teacakes.

  3. di

    I’m from Huddersfield and it was always plain teacakes and currant teacakes when I was a kid and sent to the baker’s to fetch them. When I lived in Manchester much later, teacakes were barmcakes….

  4. Ian

    An interesting debate which has raged in our house for years! Being from Bradford,a teacake definitely has NO FRUIT….. my Sheffield-born partner, however,thinks I’ve lost it on this one!
    Now, how about buffets/stools and snickets/ginnels/gennels across the county?

  5. gina

    in barnsley we say teacakes, as the plain ones big or small, an the fruit normally with currents are current teacakes. But my mum a sheffielder say a teacake is the one with currents in and plain is a breedcake…
    And on ginnels, snickets… A ginnel is nearly like an alley generally goes down side of houses, backin’s at the back of the house and a snicket is smaller than a ginnel normally leading to another bit of a street. if that makes sense..


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