Munchie Monday: Whigs, a Nice Tea Cake

Take time this week to make and share a traditional family recipe with younger family members!

Mrs. Macculloch had two whig, or wigg, recipes in her cookbook, one dating as far back as 1849. Wiggs were tea biscuits or tea cakes eaten in England. They were usually served only on special occasions, like funerals or weddings, because they were expensive to make. It is believed the name “wigg” came from the Dutch word “wedge”. After they are baked, wiggs are eaten warm with butter.

Louisa Macculloch’s recipe reads:

Mother’s Whigs—Feb 2nd 1849

1 quart milk

1 cup butter

2 sugar

4 eggs


And flour to make them as thick as cake. If not light add spoonfuls acid one soda.


Adapted Recipe for Today’s Kitchen

Mother’s Whigs, A Nice Tea-cake

2 cups warm milk (110-115 degrees F)

½ cup butter (1 stick), softened

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

2 ¼ tsp. of active dry yeast and 2 ¼ tsp. rapid rise yeast

5 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Add yeast to warm milk, stir, and set aside. Combine sifted flour and sugar in mixer with dough hook.  Add eggs one at a time. Add milk and butter.  Cover with towel and set in warm area to raise for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On lightly-floured board work with small amount of dough (dough will be sticky), roll into 2 inch round balls and place four together (see picture) on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Makes 16     4-inch rolls.


  • Watch how wigg seed cakes were made in the 18th century.
  • Learn about the Smithsonian’s exhibit Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000.
  • Discover food museums from around the world!
  • Learn how food shapes cultures.

Several balls of dough are scored into quarters and dusted with flour.

Topic: Munchie Monday
Age / Level: High School, Life Long Learner

Munchie Monday: Whigs, a Nice Tea Cake Videos