Soul Cakes

Today is all Souls Day. We should pray for departed souls, not just in the month of November, but throughout the year. The practice of remembering the dead is as easy as including a prayer for the dead into our daily prayers. The custom of visiting and praying at the graves another practice. Here’s a short prayer to include in your evening prayers.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.

And may perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace. Amen.

Did you know that doughnuts were called soul cakes. They were  plain round buns. Boys begged for soul cakes. However they didn’t really pray for the souls. They only thought of their hungry bellies. A clever cook decided to help them remember why they had been given the cake. Instead of making plain round buns, she made buns with a holes in the middle. Back then the circle was common symbol for everlasting life and our passage to it. The result of her cleverness was a doughnut, a reminder of prayer.

Use the receipe below and make some sould cakes for All Souls Day with your family. Have your Mom or Day light a candle, sit and have some hot chocolate. Take the time to remember your family, friends and others who have died. All Souls Day reminds us of our connection with the faithful departed. It’s a connection that isn’t even broken by death.


  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine
  • 3-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup wheat germ


Add sugar slowly to eggs, beating constantly. Stir in buttermilk and melted butter or margarine. Mix and sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt; stir in wheat germ. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture. Chill dough until easy to handle. Roll out 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick on floured pastry board, rolling half the dough at a time. Cut with doughnut cutter. Fry in deep fat heated to 375°-380°, turning once after doughnuts have risen to surface and are golden brown on the underside. Drain on paper towel. Makes 30 to 36 doughnuts, depending on thickness.

Recipe Source: Cooking for Christ by Florence Berger, National Catholic Rural Life Conference, 4625 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310, 1949, 1999