History of Hevva Cake

Hevva Cake is a popular Cornish pastry that has been enjoyed by generations of locals and visitors alike. The cake is made from simple ingredients such as flour, butter, sugar, and milk, and is known for its crumbly texture and sweet, buttery taste.

But where did this beloved treat come from, and how has it evolved over time? In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating history of Hevva Cake and how it has become an integral part of Cornish culture.

The Origins of Hevva Cake

The exact origins of Hevva Cake are uncertain, but it is believed to have been created by Cornish fishermen who needed a durable and filling snack to take with them on long fishing trips. The cake was designed to be easy to transport and could withstand the rough conditions of the sea, making it the perfect food for fishermen. Legend has it that the cake got its name from the cry of “hevva, hevva!” which was shouted by the fishermen when they spotted a shoal of fish. The cry was a signal to the women back on shore to start baking the cake in preparation for the fishermen’s return.

The Evolution of Hevva Cake

Over time, Hevva Cake became more than just a practical snack for fishermen. It became a beloved part of Cornish culture, with many families having their own special recipes that had been passed down through generations. As the popularity of the cake grew, bakers started to experiment with different ingredients and techniques, resulting in a wide variety of Hevva Cake recipes. Some bakers added dried fruit, nuts, or spices to the basic recipe, while others experimented with different types of flour or sweeteners.

How to Make Hevva Cake

While there are many variations of Hevva Cake, the basic recipe remains the same. Here’s how to make your own delicious Hevva Cake at home:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75ml milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring until the mixture comes together into a dough.
  5. Roll out the dough to around 1cm thick and cut into rounds or squares.
  6. Place the rounds/squares onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Allow to cool before serving.


Is Hevva Cake only eaten in Cornwall?

While Hevva Cake is most commonly associated with Cornwall, it can be found in other parts of the UK as well.

Can I freeze Hevva Cake?

Yes, Hevva Cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow to defrost at room temperature before serving.

Is Hevva Cake vegan-friendly?

No, Hevva Cake contains butter and is therefore not suitable for vegans.


Hevva Cake may have started out as a simple snack for fishermen, but it has evolved into a beloved part of Cornish culture.

I'm Jennifer Tirrell, a self-taught baker, and founder of CakeRe. As an experienced baker and recipe publisher, I have spent over a decade working in the kitchen and have tried and tested countless baking tools and products. From classic cakes to creative twists, I've got you covered. So grab your apron and let's get baking!

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