Rock Buns

Published by Amy

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Rock Buns recipe from Baking with Granny.

It was actually one of our lovely Twitter followers who’d requested this recipe and of course, Granny had her go-to Rock Bun recipe right on cue! I’m pretty sure prior to this, the last time I made Rock Buns was in my High School Home Economics class and I’m pretty sure they were more rock than they were bun.

Given my sketchy history with baking Rock Buns, I was unsure of my actual opinion of them. Surely they shouldn’t actually break your teeth, like the H.E. Rock Bun disaster of 2001? I mean, sure, they’re called Rock Buns but why would anyone choose to eat something so tough? Turns out those ‘Rock Buns’ (inverted commas as I think it’s a stretch to actually call them so) were burnt well over done and probably not the best recipe, like most recipes our school produced.

Turns out, I love Rock Buns! It wasn’t until Granny compared them to scones that I thought there was a chance they were something I could get on board with.

So if you love crumbly little cakes, loaded with flavour and dried fruit, then give Rock Buns a chance – you won’t be disappointed with this recipe! (As long as you don’t burn them and end up with literal H.E.-esque rocks). And take it from me, you’ll love them most of all when they’re still a little warm and fresh from the oven.

I most certainly did not eat 3 in one sitting…

"Made these today and they were the best rock buns I’ve ever had. I used to buy them when I worked and it was a special treat when I got them fresh out of the oven.. Will never buy a shop bought one again. Thank you for sharing."


Self-raising Flour
As opposed to using a plain flour, self-raising flour is what gives these little buns a bit of lift. Without that they would definitely be more rock-like.

Butter or Margarine
Either will do and it’s personal preference to which you choose. I opt for margarine as a way to omit the dairy but whatever you choose, just be sure it’s at room temperature before baking.
And if using margarine. just be sure to use a block margarine, as opposed to the spreadable kind. The latter will make your Rock Buns dough too soft.

Caster Sugar
All buns need a bit of sweetness and Rock Buns are no exception!

Free-range Egg
Egg works as the binder in this recipe. I don’t tend to stress to much about the size of eggs in buns, as long as they’re free-range.

In this recipe, milk is needed to add moisture to the buns and help create the dough. You may not need all the milk listed, so be sure to add it gradually.

Orange Extract
Not essential but certainly adds to the beauty of these wee buns. I find orange extract to be the best but you can mix it up with some lemon or vanilla extract too.

Dried Mixed Fruit
Either from a ready-bagged mix, or create your own with what dried fruit you have, or your favourites.

Granny's Top Tips

• This recipe uses dried mix fruit but if you can’t get your hands on a combination bag, simply use a mixture of sultanas, currants and mix peel, to the quantities of your preference.

• Orange extract gives the best flavour results and nicely compliments the peel in the mixed dried fruit, however you can easily substitute it for lemon or vanilla extract should you wish.

Rock Buns recipe from Baking with Granny.
Rock Buns recipe from Baking with Granny.

Rock Buns

Perhaps most famous for being the bake everyone made in Home Economics, Rock Buns are a delicious tea time treat.
5 from 31 votes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes



  • Pre-heat your oven to 190° (or 170°c for a fan assisted oven or Gas Mark 5) and grease a couple of baking sheets. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, sift the flour. Add the butter and rub together with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the sugar and egg to the mixture. Add the milk a spoonful at a time, mixing together to create a thick, sticky dough - you may not need all the milk.
  • Add the orange extract and the mixed dried fruit. Mix until the dried fruit is evenly dispersed through the dough.
  • Place a tablespoon sized amount of dough onto your pre-greased baking sheets. Repeat with the rest of the dough, leaving space between each ball. Don't be concerned with making them neat - the rougher the balls are, the more rock-like your buns will appear.
  • Bake in your pre-heated oven for around 15 minutes until they have a nice golden colour.
  • Allow to cool a little on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Although rock buns are best enjoyed when still a little warm from the oven!


You can substitute the orange extract for lemon extract or vanilla extract, although orange works nicely as it compliments the peel in the mixed dried fruit.
Tried this recipe?Tag @bakingwithgranny or use the hashtag #bakingwithgranny!
Rock Buns recipe from Baking with Granny. Traditional Rock Buns made with dried fruit.

60 Responses

  1. Oh wow, now THAT brings back memories, haven’t had a rock bun in years, love the fact you’ve added orange extract – genius! #recipeoftheweek

  2. I also have not had a rock bun for years. I used to make them with my nanny – I think it is a recipe I ought to try with my boys and soon! thank you for sharing with #BakeoftheWeek x

  3. This is a really good recipe! They came out still pretty soft in the middle, crunchy on the out side with the dried fruit, mmmmmm! I added vanilla bean paste which also worked really well.

    1. 5 stars
      I used chocolate chips instead of dried fruit and it turned out really well so if your making them for your kids I suggest chocolate chips :)

  4. Absolutly yummy. Hubby had a craving for rock cakes so i passed the test with flying colors with this recipe. They didnt last long the whole 12 of them.

  5. I have made these and they taste exactly the same as scones just looks like a rock. Definitely not the recipe my granny used to make.

  6. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I made mine rather big
    and got 8 from recipe! At their very best still warm form from the oven. I made these two days in a row and they were gone before the cooled properly.
    The orange extract is perfect in these

  7. I made Rock buns with my two sons who are both in their 30’s. I’m revisiting those happy times right now with my granddaughter who is 6.

  8. 5 stars
    I have made these a couple of times now and they are simply the best rock bun recipe you could bake,the quantities are spot on and they are delicious

  9. 5 stars
    Have not made them for years, but now we are isolated I thought I would have a go, my oven is a horror, very hot and has burnt the few baking attempts I have made before giving up entirely. These turned out very well. I did cut back a bit on the butter and added a little oil, added mixed spice too. Thank you.

  10. I haven’t made rock buns in years (…and years)! Recipe looks delicious – thank you. Do think it’s possible to swap the dried fruit for chocolate chips? Or will that not work well with this particular mixture? I will be making the fruit version for me but my kids only like dried fruit straight out of the packet, not mixed in things – hence why I thought I might give chocolate chip rock cakes a try too!

    1. 5 stars
      I’ve just tried this recipe tonight with a bag of Aldi’s (the pantry) Chocolate orange mix which is orange fudge & dark choc chips. They come in 100g bags which is absolutely perfect. I tweaked the recipe just slightly, using 50g caster sugar plus 20g demerara sugar & 1 tsp of cinnamon powder.
      My oh my these are absolutely beautiful, so so light & fluffy inside but nice & crisp on the outer. I definitely recommend this recipe & I think if you want them slightly more rock like (firm) just leave them in the oven for a few extra minutes…
      Thank you for a fabulous fool proof recipe

  11. 5 stars
    I have not had rock buns for years. Absolutely loved this recipe and they disappeared in not time. Will make again, but not too soon, as they are very popular.

  12. 5 stars
    Ive just caught up with your rock bun recipe. Used to love them as a kid, and I’m 71. Although your recipe is a wee bit richer and flavoursome than the very plain fare then. Think i will make a big batch for the residents of my friend’s care home – once its open to visitors again. In the meantime I’ll practice on my family.

  13. I have t made rock cakes for years even though I love them. The recipe is a good one ‘Rocky’ on the outside and soft and fluffy inside. So few ingredients and so easy to make.

  14. 5 stars
    I absolutely love this recipe. I double the recipe usually and get 8 good sized rock cakes. They live them at work!!

  15. Just made these and they’re by far the nicest I’ve tried. Not overly sweet either which is perfect

  16. Am 83 the Rock Buns I made today from your recipe Fantastic
    Can you put a recipe on for cheese sconces please
    Beginning to learn baking since my wife died, and is it possible to quote in ounces

  17. Just made these x my Nan use to make rock cakes all the time x they were simply the best x the orange extract works perfectly x thank you x

  18. 5 stars
    Made these today and they were the best rock buns I’ve ever had. I used to buy them when I worked and it was a special treat when I got them fresh out of the oven.. Will never buy a shop bought one again. Thank you for sharing. Going to try them with choc chips as my husbands not fond of the fruit.

  19. 5 stars
    Would it be possible to put the amount of ingredients in ounces for us Americans. I left england 69 years ago and have forgot the metric system. Mine did come out quite good since I guessed at the amounts to use. Thank you

  20. I have just made your Rock Buns, since moving to South Africa in 1991 and being a “lancashire lad” I have so missed these. The recipe was spot on and now I shall send you my bill for my next size up pair of jeans. Love your page and recipes.
    An ever growing waist fan!

  21. Awesome recipe thanks they turned out perfect!
    I just switched all the caster sugar for 1/2 brown demerara and 1/2 honey as its better for you (marginally if you scoff the lot!) and I suggest a more aromatic type of sweetness!

  22. These rock buns are delicious. The orange extract gives a wonderful flavour. I have always had problems with them being too dry but these are just perfect. Thank you for a great recipe.

  23. Can’t wait to try this with my daughter. However please can you show ingredients in ozs as well as grams. Other people have also asked for this, so would be good to see both measurements on list.

  24. This recipe is so easy and fool proof . Thank you . I always make Rock Cakes but these are so different and nice .

    1. I grated the butter into the flour to avoid rubbing in. Mixed with a fork which worked well. I grated zest of an orange and used the squeezed juice , vanilla essence and a little milk. Delicious!

  25. 5 stars
    Great recipe, made today with 3 year old granddaughter. Simple enough for her to help and a lovely tasty result. The addition of the orange extract makes them delicious. Thank you.

  26. Turned out lovely, my Wife doesn’t like dried fruit so I use mixed peel instead and added zest of orange and orange extract, which gives a nice zesty fruity taste to the buns

  27. How many does this recipe make please. I’ve looked but maybe I’m missing it. I just want to know in case I need to double the amounts of ingredients as they’re getting such great reviews, I want to make sure I make enough

  28. 5 stars
    Really great recipe. These were the first cakes I made in my first year at high school in Home Economics – took me right back. I added a teaspoon of mixed spice as well as the orange extract and used sultanas only instead of mixed fruit. My husband and neighbours loved them

  29. 5 stars
    So good! Reminded my 83 year old mom of the ones her grandmother made. ❤️ I soaked my fruit in a little hot orange juice and used it in place of some of the milk. My mixed fruit was dried apricots, mangoes, cranberries and blueberries. I think next time I’ll add nuts. Thank you for this gem!
    And for those asking for US measurements, Google is your friend! I had no trouble with the conversions.

  30. Hi Amy. Going to try making some Rock Buns. I always get confused with instructions to grease the baking sheet. Do I grease the baking tray and line the sheet on top or grease the baking sheet after lying it on the baking tray? If it is greasing the tray before lying the sheet, what is the point? Will the grease penetrate through to cook the cakes/cookies? Help!

  31. 5 stars
    Made these rock buns today, substituting SR flour with gluten free SR flour. Added raisins, Sultanas & halved cherries too, together with a good pinch of mixed spice – came out really well and were a big hit with the family. Very adaptable recipe.

  32. 5 stars
    I used lemon extract and this added a lovely, subtle fragrance – perfect rock cakes, a little crunch on the outside, soft and light inside and a good, golden colour.

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Hi! I'm Amy

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Hello, I’m Amy, the voice-behind and creator-of Baking with Granny.

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