I don’t know what the weather has been like in your neck of the woods but after a glorious week of sunshine, it rained most of the weekend. Ideal weather for some baking (and eating)! I keep a box in which I throw recipes I come across that are interesting and that I might want to try. The other day I was rummaging through it and I found a handwritten recipe for Welsh cakes which was handed down to me by one of my former work colleagues. She is Welsh and whenever she used to go to Wales for a visit her mother would make a batch of these babies for the office and that is how I discovered them. Surprisingly I had never tried to make them so this weekend I got the flour, sugar and butter out and I gave it a go, much to the delight of my husband.
The best way to describe Welsh cakes is to say that they are the size of a cookie, but thicker and consistency wise they are in between a pancake and a scone. Traditionally they contain spice (cinnamon or mixed spice) and raisins. It is a very simple dough to make but what takes some time is baking them: they are cooked on a griddle (or in a pan if you don’t have a griddle). They are not overly sweet; it is the powdered sugar at the end that gives them a sweet touch.
The recipe below makes 30 to 40 of them (depending on their size) and they keep a couple of days in an airtight container.
- 500 grams of self raising flour
- 80 grams of granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (you can also use mixed spice)
- 300 grams of butter
- 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt
- 150 grams of raisins
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of milk (any kind – full fat, semi skimmed or skimmed)
- 2 tablespoons of normal flour
- Mix the self raising flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon together.
- Cut 250 grams of butter into 1-2 cm squares.
- Add the butter to the dry ingredients and use your hands to rub the flour and butter together until you get small crumbs. This is the same technique that is used to make crumble topping, but here you need to ensure that the crumbs are quite small.
- Add the raisins and mix.
- Crack open the egg in a small bowl and beat it slightly till the yolk and white is combined and then incorporate the egg into the dough. At this point you will already notice that the dough will come together but it will need some additional moisture.
- Of the two tablespoons of milk add one and work the dough some more, if the dough is still a bit too dry or not all the flour is incorporated, add the second tablespoon of milk. At this point you’ll obtain a cookie like dough, which is slightly dry and will crack easily: don’t worry this is the way it should be. Once the dough has come together, it is not necessary to knead it any further.
- To make the roll out process easier, cut the dough in three equal parts.
- Put some of the normal flour on a clean kitchen surface and put some on your rolling pin. Roll out the dough until it is about 1 cm thick.
- Take a cookie cutter and cut out shapes. Repeat this until you have used all the dough.
- Put a pan on medium heat and let a little bit of butter melt in the pan (like maybe 15 grams of butter). Don’t use too much butter, the goal is merely to grease the pan and add some flavor to the cakes.
- Once the butter is melted you put in a batch of Welsh cakes and fry/cook/bake them for 3 minutes each side. You will see that after 3 minutes they will have a nice brown crust and then you flip them over. Don’t be tempted to cook them longer as they will burn and turn out dry. Ideally they should still be a bit moist in the center. If you want to do a test run, you start out with one cake and see how it goes.
- Let them cool down and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
I hope you enjoy these cakes as much as we did.