The Toxteth Tart


The Toxteth Tart

By PeterHughes

Ahead of the second annual Toxteth Day Of The Dead, the Liverpool Arts Lab were discussing how we could better engage the local community. With food being the great unifier, I decided to create a local cake in the tradition of the Manchester and Bakewell tart, the Chorley, Eccles and Dundee cakes and the Chelsea bun.

Working with ingredients that reflect the history and culture of the L8 community, I wanted to make something that had a story behind it.

While I was out gathering my ideas, I met a guy in the Anglesey pub who was telling me about Brunswick dock and how the kids used to run down to meet the ships and stuff their jumpers with oranges. They’d bring back too many to eat so their mums would make marmalade. This made a good starting point.

Then, noticing a lot of the buildings in Toxteth are from the Victorian era, I decided to use Victoria sponge as a base, utilising flour sourced from Mill Street (of course).

Finally, to pay tribute to the diversity of cultures in L8, I blended various spices for the icing, which is completed with a pastry ‘T’ for Toxteth.

A group of us from the Liverpool Arts Lab went on a life-changing pilgrimage in April 2019. One of the stops was Damamhur the ‘Eighth Wonder Of The World’ or the ‘First Wonder Of The New World’ depending on how you look at it.

This forward thinking community based in the Italian Alps had much to teach us about their vision, which they’ve realised in a series of underground temples. Our point of connection there, Esperide Ananas was particularly full of wisdom and explained the sacredness in the connectivity of food – it’s the one thing that connects us, we can all sit down and enjoy a meal together. It gave us a new perspective on food, seeing it as a sacred ritual that transcends everyone.



(Half to make 23 cakes)

Part 1: Mill Street Pastry

400g Plain flour

275g Vegan butter

200g Caster sugar

1/4 Teaspoon salt

Ice cold water (if needed)


Sieve Flour into a bowl. Added chopped cold vegan butter, sugar, salt and a tablespoon of water. Knead into a smooth dough. Rest in fridge. 

Part 2: Victorian Terrace Sponge

300g Self raising flour

200g Caster sugar 

150g Vegan butter

300ml Oat / Almond milk

1 tablespoon Cider vinegar

1 Vanilla pod

1 Teaspoon bicarbonate of soda


Coagulate the oat/almond milk with the cider vinegar in a jug. Add to other ingredients and beat until smooth. 

Part 3: Spicy Icing

100g Icing sugar 

1 Teaspoon cinnamon

1 Teaspoon ginger

1 Teaspoon all spice

Drop of water


Mix spices and icing sugar in a bowl. Add a drop of water at a time and mix until smooth. 

Part 4: Brunswick Dock Marmalade 

Home knitted jumper full of oranges

1kg Sugar


Chop oranges, boil with sugar. Put in sterilised jars. 


Roll out pastry, cut into circles. Line greased muffin trays and blind bake for 8 minutes at gas mark 4, 180 degrees. Once cooked, add a generous teaspoon of marmalade, followed by a tablespoon of sponge mix. Return the tarts to the oven and bake for a further 20 mins or until they are golden. With the left over pastry, cut out some ‘T’s and bake on a tray until golden. Let everything cool, then ice the tart and mark with T for Toxteth!!!