Aberffraw shortbread James Cakes (Cacennau Iago)

Recently featured on the Great British Bake off, these shortbread cakes originate from Anglesey, made in a little fishing village called Aberffraw on the west coast, near the resort of Rhosneigr. They are shaped in shells found on the beach, which gives them their unique scallop shape. Usually called Aberffraw or ‘Berffro’ cakes, appearing in the former ‘Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery’ in 1885, however   the proper name is after St James, as pilgrims on their way for Santiago de Compostela in Spain wore a scallop shell as a hat badge. Wales and Galicia are two Celtic countries, and share the name for James – Iago.  It features in an annual competition at the Anglesey Show.

As with all shortbread recipes, the biscuit is made from just three ingredients, so it all depends on the quality of your butter.

  • 3 ozs / 75g flour
  • 2ozs / 50g butter (softened)
  • 1 oz / 25g sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to (425°F 2l8°C, Gas 7)
  2. Beat the sugar into the softened butter.
  3. Add the flour a little at a time, with your hands.
  4. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and stamp into rounds with a plain cutter, keeping as thin as possible.
  5. Mark each round with a scallop shell and trim to the shell shape.
  6. Put onto a baking sheet and put in the oven for approximately ten minutes
  7. Watch carefully and do not allow to turn brown.
  8. Sprinkle with sugar while still warm.

Aberffraw shortbread James Cakes (Cacennau Iago), 4.3 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

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