Last week I promised to share with you my welsh cake recipe. If you are unfamiliar with these little circles of deliciousness let me explain them to you first.
Although called cakes they are not baked in an oven, they are traditionally cooked on a bakestone (a thick, round piece of cast iron with a handle) although you can also use a heavy bottomed frying pan or a flat griddle. I have even heard of people cooking them on the flat part of a George Foreman grill!
I do have to admit that my bake stone, isn’t really MY bake stone. It actually belongs to my mother and is probably well over 100 years old, but in a way I guess we are carrying on an age old tradition where there would be a ‘Family Bakestone’ that would be shared between houses as they were so expensive to buy!
Most commonly known as Welsh Cakes they also have a few other names depending on what part of Wales you come from, among them are; pice ar y maen, bakestones (you can see where they got this name from!) and teisen radell.
Originally the dough would have simply been made of just flour, eggs, sugar, butter or lard and raisins but over the years other ingredients, like spices, have been added. I expect every Welsh family would have had (and still do have) their own variation of this recipe. But at the heart they are all basically still the same little treat that is just the right size and durability for popping into a coal miner, or school child’s, pocket as a lunch time treat, or for afternoon tea with friends.
Ingredients (makes 60 2″ hearts)
- 500g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 2 teaspoons Baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
- 200g butter
- 200g Caster sugar (plus extra)
- 150g currants/raisins/sultanas
- 2 eggs
- splash of milk
Before you begin turn the heat on under your bake stone (or what ever you are using) to a medium heat. Keep in mind that you will turn this to low before you start cooking.
1. In a large mixing bowl add the flour, spices (if using) and baking powder. Stir together.
2. Roughly chop butter into cubes, add to the mix and rub together with the tips of your fingers and thumbs until they resemble breadcrumbs.
3. Add the raisins and sugars then stir together.
4. Add the eggs. Give them a quick chop with a knife, or your finger, to break the yolk, then using your hands incorporate everything together until you get a dough resembling pastry. You want it to be a soft but not sticky dough so add a teaspoon of milk, or a sprinkle of flour at a time if needed.
***Turn your heat down to low now***
5. When your dough is the right consistency tip it out onto a floured surface and roll out to about 1cm thick, you don’t want it too thin or the Welsh cakes will cook too fast and become dry.
6. Although traditionally round I like to make shapes out of my Welsh cakes, especially hearts, this batch is destined for our mothers for Mother’s Day so hearts seemed to be a perfect fit.
7. place them on your bake stone. I tend to do smaller batches because they are really easy to overcook and there is a chance some will burn while you are flipping the first ones if you do too many at once.
8. I use an icing spatula to flip mine but use what ever you have at hand a fish slice, a fork even! You want to flip them when they are golden, not quite at the brown stage.
When cooked your welsh cakes will be golden on each side but still squishy in the middle. My tip for a moist and fluffy Welsh cake is to wrap them in a tea towel while the are cooling. I place mine on a cooling rack so the steam moves around but doesn’t make the ones on the bottom soggy.
When cool I dip each side into a bowl of caster sugar, you can just sprinkle liberally if you prefer.
Tips and tricks
Half the recipe if you don’t want so many but be warned they don’t last long!
It might take a bit of playing to get the right temperature under your bake stone. Don’t be disheartened if your first batch is dark on the outside and practically raw on the inside. I have mine set on the lowest heat but all hobs are different.
I actually prefer mine slightly undercooked and still moist in the middle. Don’t be afraid of undercooking but do keep an eye on them as they get overcooked VERY quickly.
You can replace half the butter with lard if you want a shorter welsh cake, alternatively if you are vegan/dairy intolerant then use margarine.
Use as much or as little spice as you like, I just add a teensy bit or none at all.
Use chocolate chips instead of the fruit, or just leave plain.
Welsh cakes aren’t usually served with an accompaniment but taste divine (and extra naughty) spread with butter. You can also split them in half and make a jam sandwich with them.
I do hope you try this Welsh cake recipe, they really are something everyone should try at least once. Please let me know if there is something you’d like me to explain more below.
Mwynhewch! (That means enjoy in Welsh!)