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Spotted dick (also known as "spotted dog" or "railway cake") is a British pudding, traditionally made with suet and dried fruit (usually currants and/or raisins) and often served with custard. Non-traditional variants include recipes that replace suet with other fats (such as butter), or that include eggs to make something similar to a sponge pudding or cake.

Spotted dick
Spotted dick
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Main ingredientsSuet, dried fruit, flour, sugar, milk, baking powder

The dish is first attested in Alexis Soyer's The modern Housewife or ménagère, published in 1849,[1] in which he described a recipe for "Plum Bolster, or Spotted Dick—Roll out two pounds of paste ... have some Smyrna raisins well washed...".[2] The Pall Mall Gazette reported in 1892 that "the Kilburn Sisters ... daily satisfied hundreds of dockers with soup and Spotted Dick".[3]. The name "spotted dog" first appears in 1854, in C.M. Smith's "Working-men's Way in the World" where it is described as a "very marly species of plum-pudding". This name, along with "railway cake", is most common in Ireland where it is made more similar to a soda bread loaf with the addition of currants.

Spotted Dick and custard.

The name has long been a source of amusement and double entendres, to the point that the catering staff of Flintshire County Council decided in 2009 to rename it to "Spotted Richard" because of all the jokes they were receiving.[3] While "spotted" is a clear reference to the dried fruit in the pudding (which resemble spots), "dick" and "dog" were dialectal terms widely used for pudding, from the same etymology as "dough"[4]; in late 19th century Huddersfield, for instance, a glossary of local terms described "Dick, plain pudding. If with treacle sauce, treacle dick."[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Eric Partridge (2 September 2003). The Routledge Dictionary of Historical Slang. Routledge. pp. 5085–. ISBN 978-1-135-79542-9.
  2. ^ John Ayto (1994). A Gourmet's Guide: Food and Drink from A to Z. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280025-1.
  3. ^ a b c Ayto, John (2012). The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink. Oxford University Press. p. 349. ISBN 9780199640249.
  4. ^ "dough - Dutch translation – Linguee".

External linksEdit