It’s no secret that here at Baking with Granny, we are a very Scottish family – in fact we have a large selection of Scottish recipes. With that in mind, Welsh Cakes may come as a bit of surprise.
That being said, we do actually have a lot of family in Wales. Papa in particular is always quick to embrace his Welsh cousins and show support, especially when it comes to the rugby. If Scotland aren’t playing but Wales are, Papa (who is a very proud Scot!) will have his Wales strip on, cheering them on. This is especially true when it’s Wales vs. England…however I’m sure I’ve also seen Papa become a little bit Irish, a tiny bit French and even a smidgen Italian when it comes to rugby matches against England!
The point I am making though is that with Baking with Granny being of Scottish heritage, like many Scots we have great fondness for Wales and the Welsh people. With both Scotland and Wales having Celtic routes, there is a bit of an unspoken alliance between the two nations (as well as our Celtic nations). And not just because even as separate nations, we equally like to moan about Westminster rule…
But enough about nationalism and let’s talk about these Welsh Cakes!
So, what is a Welsh Cake?
I find the best way to describe a Welsh Cake as somewhere between a scone and pancake. Historically they were made on a bakestone over an open fire in Welsh farmhouses and cottages, with them later being a popular addition to miners lunchboxes. Nowadays you will find Welsh Cakes in most supermarkets, particularly in Wales. However, like many things, when baked freshly at home they taste so much better.
Welsh Cakes make a delicious tea-time treat and are easy to make with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Why not whip yourself up a batch, as well as a loaf of Bara Brith, this St David’s Day!
Self-raising is the flour of choice in this recipe, to give your Welsh Cakes a little bit of lift and rise as they cook. Fear not if you only have plain flour though, you can easily add some baking powder to gain the same affect; Baking Mad has a great guide on quantities for this.
One of my most favourite ingredients to add when baking (anything really!). With a bit of experimenting, Granny found the addition of mixed spice gave Welsh Cakes just a little extra something that they were missing. You can buy little jars of Mixed Spice in my UK supermarkets but if you are overseas, you can easily mix your own from individual spices.
Welsh Cakes aren’t overly sweet but they certainly need a little bit of sugar none-the-less. Caster sugar is ideal, as it is finer than granulated sugar so works well in batters and doughs. Plus, a sprinkling of caster sugar on your Welsh Cakes will give you that recognisable finish.
Butter would likely be the traditional fat used in Welsh Cakes, with many arguing it will also give you the best flavour. However, a good block margarine can be just as good and a great way to omit some dairy, should you desire. Just be sure to use a block margarine (as opposed to a spread) to mimic the same texture as butter.
They may not be everyone’s favourite dried fruit but they really are the top dog when it comes to Welsh Cakes. Both the texture and taste of currants is unmatched in this instance, but if you are someone who really can’t stand currants you could swap them out for raisins.
An egg helps bind the ingredients together, as well as add a little moisture to your dough. The size of your egg isn’t particularly important in this recipe, just be sure they are free-range.
The addition of milk helps take the Welsh Cakes ingredients from dry to dough. The recipe states 1-2 tablespoons but you can use a little bit more if your dough feels too dry.
Dairy milk is what would traditionally be used but you can of course experiment with different milks, should you wish to omit the dairy.
I should point out as well, that like our Bara Brith, this recipe comes directly from a Welshman; my godmother’s partner to be exact. We may be able to confidently claim our recipes to be traditional when they are Scottish but I wanted to make our Welsh recipes came from a reliable source too.
So, a special shout-out goes to Stephen for being kind enough to share his Welsh Cakes recipe!
- In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar and mixed spice. Stir to combine.
- Add the butter and rub into the dry ingredients with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the currants and mix.
- Add the [beaten] egg and the milk, and mix to form a fairly stiff dough – you may need to use your hands to do this. If your dough feels too dry, add a little extra milk.
- Tip the dough onto a floured surface and gently knead for a moment to bring together.
- Heat a frying pan or flat griddle pan over a low-medium heat. Leave to come to temperature whilst you prepare your Welsh Cakes.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to about 5mm thick and cut into circles with a round 7cm cookie cutter. Set each circle to one side once cut and continue to re-roll the dough until you have around 12-15 round cakes.
- Lightly grease your frying/griddle pan before placing your cakes on, keeping a bit of space between them (be careful not to overcrowd your pan – you will need to do this in batches). Cook the cakes for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown in colour.
- Place the cooked Welsh cakes onto a wire rack to cool and dust with a little caster sugar to finish.