11 British Desserts With Atypical Names

Traditional singing hinny recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

There's a lot in a name, but the unique names for some British dessert foods tend to be the exception to the rule. Usually, food names sound appealing or create a sense of anticipation such as apple pie, treacle sponge, and rich fruit cake. But British dishes often require that you guess what the food is. For example, do you know what a Singin' Hinny is? How about laver cakes? Both are, in fact, quite delicious, but their names don't necessarily reflect that.

Many of these sensational names for British foods have been handed down over the centuries. Some come from local dialects, while others are just imaginative. Learn some interesting fun facts about some of these British cakes, puddings, and biscuits.

  • 01 of 11

    Spotted Dick

    Spotted Dick Recipe

     The Spruce

    The distinctive name of this classic English pudding is why some British people, when talking to foreigners, prefer the dish's alternative name, “Spotted Dog Pudding.” The spotted part of the name supposedly refers to the raisins and currants in the dough. The word "dick" is a colloquial word for pudding originating from the antiquated "puddick" or "puddog." 

  • 02 of 11

    Singin' Hinnies

    Traditional singing hinny recipe

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    These lovely, sweet griddle cakes are a delight. Hinney is how "honey" is pronounced in Northeast England. It is also a term of endearment for women and children. The singing part of the name describes how the cakes are cooked in a hot flat griddle pan. As they hit the pan, the butter and lard start to sizzle and sing.

  • 03 of 11

    Barm Brack

    Irish Barmbrack Recipe

     siims/Getty Images

    Brack is one of Ireland's most famous bakery products. The name comes from breac, which means speckled and refers to the fruit in the loaf. Brack is traditionally eaten at Halloween but is too delicious to save for just once a year. Eat it at tea time or as part of your St. Patrick's Day celebrations. 

  • 04 of 11


    Traditional Scottish Tablet on a plate

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

    This sweet doesn't refer to an electric device you can write on, as its name implies. Instead, it is a Scottish candy much like fudge. Scottish tablet contains sugar, butter, and condensed, not evaporated, milk. Plus is very easy to make. 

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11


    Scottish Cranachan Recipe

    The Spruce

    Cranachan is not quite a trifle, but it's similar. It is a Scottish dessert often served at celebrations such as Christmas or Burns Night. The pudding contains raspberries, oats, cream, honey, and a dash of Scotch ​whiskey.

  • 06 of 11


    Traditional Yorkshire Parkin recipe

    The Spruce

    Parkin is the Northern English form of gingerbread, distinguished by where and how it is made. The most well known is Yorkshire Parkin, which traditionally is eaten on Nov. 5, known as Bonfire Night. The event celebrates the famous failure of Yorkshire's Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.

  • 07 of 11

    Bara Brith

    Bara Brith Cake

    The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

    No Welsh afternoon tea would be complete without this delicious fruity tea bread. Bara Brith literally means speckled bread.

  • 08 of 11


    British Hobnobs

    The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

    A Hobnob is a biscuit (cookie) which also was voted one of the top ten of Britain's favorite biscuits. They are made commercially but making your own is so much fun and produces a hearty biscuit. 

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    Eccles Cake

    Eccles Cake Recipe

    The Spruce

    First made in North West England in 1793, eccles cake is a small flat pastry filled with dried fruits and spices.

  • 10 of 11

    Eton Mess

    English Eton Mess

    The Spruce 

    Eton mess is a mixture of strawberries, meringue, and cream traditionally served at Eton College. It's unclear how it first got the name. According to one story, a Labrador dog sat on a picnic basket in the back of a car and squashed a strawberry and meringue dessert.​

  • 11 of 11


    Stack of Welsh Cakes with Blueberry (Crempog)

    clubfoto / Getty Images

    Crempog is Welsh pancakes. They are different from the traditional British pancake eaten on Pancake Day. Crempog is thicker, slightly risen, and cooked on a griddle–not unlike American pancakes. They are quick and easy to make. You can eat them at tea time or for breakfast.​